President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of the Philippines today stressed the need for countries to value the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of Asean member states to maintain peace and stability in the region.
He said relations among countries bear fruit when they are based on mutual respect and remain solid if the stakeholders learn to respect and value peaceful resolution of disputes.
“In an era where there can be much uncertainty, we must faithfully adhere to the supremacy of the law and rely on the primacy of rules as responsible members of the international community.
“This year, Asean will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of dialogue relations with Canada, the European Union and the United States and 25th anniversary with India. Asean is also commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Asean Plus Three – Japan, South Korea and China.
“These are relations that are valued. But they can be much more valuable and stronger if we learn to respect each other’s independence and treat each other as sovereign equals,” he said at the opening of the 30th Asean Summit in Manila today.
Also present was Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Duterte said Asean’s engagement with dialogue partners allowed the region to set the table for meaningful discussions on maintaining peace and stability, the pursuit of development goals, the peaceful, resolution of disputes and the promotion of people’s welfare.
“Dialogue relations can be made more productive and constructive if the valued principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of Asean member states is observed,” he added.
The Summit today is the first of two leaders-level summit’s Manila is hosting as Asean Chairman for 2017.
As part of the Summit, Asean leaders will hold interface sessions with representatives of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and Asean youth representatives.
The 10th Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Summit and 12th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit will also be held and chaired by Duterte. –Bernama