Cayetano cites ASEAN role in maintaining peace, stability despite "sensitive issues"
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano underscored on Saturday the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in maintaining peace and stability in the region despite encountering some "sensitive" issues.
One of the major issues some ASEAN-member countries face is the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia, all ASEAN members, as well as China and Taiwan, have been claiming wholly or partially the South China Sea.
In his statement during the opening ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Cayetano said while the regional bloc has become "deeply involved" with its external partners, ASEAN has maintained its centrality in the evolving regional architecture.
"We now enjoy peace, security, and stability in the region largely due to ASEAN's key role as a platform for constructive dialogue, consultation, and confidence-building among its members and external partners," he said.
He cited the values fostered by ASEAN through the years, "the same values which allowed us in ASEAN to thrive and progress in peace and harmony with our neighbors, despite the fact that sometimes there are issues and complicated, sensitive matters between us yet we found a way to live peacefully and give our region peace and stability."
During the plenary session, Cayetano noted how disputes are being handled by the ASEAN.
"If there is a single characteristic that makes our community truly unique and admirable, it is the existence of the peaceful settlement of regional disputes and on regional cooperation as the best, if not the surest means of achieving peace," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS