PBBM: ASEAN-US partnership to firm up security, trade

MOVERS AND SHAKERS. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (left) and fellow Southeast Asian Nations leaders welcome United States President Joe Biden (5th from left) to the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Saturday (Nov. 12, 2022). President Marcos Jr. said the comprehensive strategic partnership between the ASEAN and the US will further strengthen trade, security, peace, and economic cooperation. (Photo courtesy of OP)

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Said the newly  launched “comprehensive strategic partnership” between the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will further firm up trade, economic cooperation, peace and security among the states concerned.

The launch was made in Cambodia  by key officials of the 10-member ASEAN Group and their US dialogue partner during  10th ASEAN-US Summit in Phnom Penh on Saturday.

US President Joe Biden, who addressed the summit, said the new ASEAN-US strategic partnership is “another critical step” that will enable him and the ASEAN leaders to tackle the “biggest issues of our time.”

Biden said ASEAN and the US need to focus on the climate crisis, health security, threats to rules-based order and the rule of law, and the initiative to build an Indo-Pacific that is “free and open, stable and prosperous and resilient and secure.”

“ASEAN is the heart of my administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy. And we continue to strengthen our commitment to work in lockstep with an empowered, unified ASEAN,” he said.

“We will build better future, the better future we all say we want to see and we’re going to see,” the US President said,  adding he expects the US and ASEAN to deepen regional peace and prosperity, resolve the challenges in the South China Sea and Myanmar, and find innovative solutions to shared challenges.

Speaking in the same forum. President Marcos asked the US to use its “global influence” to tame the rise in fuel prices which has adversely impacted on businesses and livelihood.

“We appeal as well to the United States to use its global influence to help ease the current global plight of rising fuel prices that we all have to deal with. We also encourage the US’ long-term support for the implementation of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation,” he added.

The President noted that the war between Russia and Ukraine caused oil prices to skyrocket due to fears of supply disruptions amid the imposition of Western sanctions targeting the Russian economy, as well as threatens global food and fertilizer supply, which could affect the Philippines’ efforts to revitalize its agriculture sector and ensure national food self-sufficiency.

He likewise appealed for the US to help support the work of the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, which strives to preserve ASEAN’s varied ecosystems and mainstreams biodiversity across relevant sectors.

The Center’s work, he said “is critical in mitigating emerging and reemerging infectious zoonotic diseases and pandemics,” like the lingering Covid-19 crisis.