RTIwala Trending: The Philippines is playing host to the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits. The Rohingya refugees issue, the South China SEA tussle and the rise of radicalization and extremism are expected to dominate the limelight. Leaders from the 10 ASEAN member countries and its dialogue partners will gather here for the important summits hosted by the Philippines. The member countries are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, United States, Canada, and The European Union. The United Nations Secretary-General will also attend the conference.
ASEAN, a ray of hope?
“Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,” is the theme for the conference. Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will chair the plenary session of the 31st ASEAN Summit. ASEAN Leaders will discuss the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the way forward. The appointment of the new Secretary-General of ASEAN will also be considered. The three-day summit also coincides with the provincial bloc’s 50th anniversary.
Undersecretary Enrique Manalo of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs chaired a meeting of ASEAN Senior Officials in Clark, Pampanga. The meeting was held to discuss arrangements for the Summits and finalizing outcome documents. The documents are likely to comprise of innovation, cybercrime, malnutrition, and protection of the rights of ASEAN migrant workers. The Malaysian delegation will be led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. He is expected to arrive after participating in the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Danang, Vietnam.
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US President Donald Trump will attend the meeting, along with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San iSuu Kyi. The host, Philippines is fighting insurgents in the city of Marawi. It is mobilizing around 60,000 security personnel to help secure the Summits and the high profile foreign visitors.
What lies ahead?
The ASEAN leaders will also sign the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers. It is a milestone document that further seeks to reinforce social protection, access to justice, humane and fair treatment, and access to health services for the migrant workers of Southeast Asia.
Among the important events that will take place, are:-
- ASEAN’s 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summits with the USA, Canada and the European Union;
- 20th ASEAN Plus Three Commemorative Summit;
- the 20th ASEAN-China Summit,
- 19th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit;
- 20th ASEAN-Japan Summit;
- 12th East Asia Summit;
- 15th ASEAN-India Summit; and
- the 9th ASEAN-UN Summit
Singapore will assume the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2018. It will be significant to see first of its kind combination since the idea of a quadrilateral grouping. It involves Japan, U.S., Australia, and India that seems to have taken shape. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump are likely to meet on the sidelines of the 50th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) anniversary celebrations in Manila.