ASEAN to discuss SCS issue
The South China Sea issue is expected to be discussed during the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and related summits in Singapore next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
DFA Assistant Secretary Junever Mahilum-West said the South China Sea will be one of the regional issues to be discussed along with the Korean Peninsula.
"As you know, the Philippines has assumed the coordinatorship of the ASEAN-China dialogue partnership from this year until 2021, that's a period of three years. And we are quite sure that the South China Sea, as I've mentioned before, would be one of those regional developments that would be taken up in the Summit. As to the detail of the discussions, I cannot say but for sure there's going to be discussion on the South China Sea," she said.
West also said that there is a possibility that Duterte will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit given the size of the venue. Xi is expected to visit the Philippines this month.
"Well, it's a very small place, the Suntec Conference Center, so there's always the possibility. But any meetings would have to be, of course, prepared for beforehand. So we'll just see. We'll just see," she said.
The 10 ASEAN leaders are expected to meet China in three related summits, the ASEAN Plus China Summit, the ASEAN Plus Three Summit also with Japan and South Korea, and the East Asia Summit also with Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States.
West said that US President Donald Trump will not attend the 33rd ASEAN Summit unlike last year in Manila. She said Trump will be represented by US Vice President Mike Pence.
Russia will be represented by President Vladimir Putin. Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev attended the ASEAN summit in Manila.