Two major international conferences were held in Asia — the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (Apec) in Danang, Vietnam, graced by US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Manila.
While Putin and Xi attended the Apec meeting, they were content to send their representatives to the Asean meeting in Manila while Trump made good on his visit to the country.
Though the Duterte government had declared an independent foreign policy that is believed by many to be beneficial in drawing Russian and Chinese military aid, the US is always counted on to provide military assistance.
Duterte made it clear that he will elevate the South China Sea dispute to Xi’s attention and raise concerns such as the right of free passage by claimant nations like the Philippines.
Though President Duterte said there won’t be any confrontation, he promised to assert the country’s claim to territory in some part of the disputed islands, and I think it’s about time that we finally settle this issue with China.
Many are hoping that this dispute with China be settled diplomatically. We are also praying that the matter of strengthening the Asean be achieved to help its members fulfill their objectives of being a world-class economic and political hub.
It is also about time that the Asean should define their ties with their partner nations like the US, Russia, European Union and China among others.
The Asean should also help Myanmar over its domestic problem of refugees. It cannot afford to ignore Myanmar’s refugee crisis because it will also affect them.
When it comes to our country, I agree with the opinion of many that it’s not time for us to bring up the issue of human rights in the Asean summit. Rather, let us save it for a future occasion and with the right audience.