From Update.Ph (Apr 14): Philippines, Singapore push for centrality of ASEAN in West Philippine Sea issue
The Philippines and Singapore are pushing for centrality and solidarity of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in discussing the West Philippine Sea issue.
During Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras introductory visit to Singapore on April 12-1, Philippines agreed that in discussing and resolving regional issues, including the West Philippine Sea, ASEAN’s solidarity, unity and centrality is fundamental as it is vital, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
The recently appointed diplomat visited to Singapore to pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong and his counterpart Foreign Minister (FM) Vivian Balakrishnan.
Secretary Almendras stressed “the Philippines has complete respect for the ASEAN process and fully supports ASEAN centrality in pushing forward our agenda for community building, including enhancing relations with dialogue partners such as China.”
“The Philippines appreciates very much all the support Singapore has shown the Philippines with great confidence and faith in the resilience of the Philippine economy… we also thank Singapore for being a gracious host to a considerable Filipino expatriate community here, who benefit from friendly programs and policies being implemented by your government,” Secretary Almendras told the Singaporean leaders.
DFA added that the Singapore PM and FM reiterated that as a non-claimant state, Singapore’s key interests lie in ensuring that the rule of law prevails over any dispute, preserving freedom of navigation and the unimpeded conduct of commerce in West Philippine Sea.