Secretary Locsin says Myanmar - a test for ASEAN centrality
Foreign Secretary Locsin cites China’s role in the global post-pandemic recovery
MANILA – Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. today said with the quality and increasing extend of prevailing ASEAN-China relations, it should be elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Speaking at Post Ministerial Conference Session with China, Secretary Locsin said China’s role is important for a global post-pandemic recovery.
“Its continuing success in containing and beating down the epidemic – albeit again and again, as the virus raises sits head again and again in different if not deadlier and more infections mutations,” Locsin said referring to China.
He said China was the first to respond with its care and cure strategy, “the best measures of protection, and the smartest preventive strategies for containment and eradication.”
Secretary Locsin said the Chinese vaccines were the first and had countries failed to use them, the death toll could have been more.
“China has thus far shown itself as the most rational power in history. And in all this, China has never exhibited that hateful aspect of rising power: that it be at the expense of others for its own advancement,” he further said.
He said a peaceful South China Sea is essential to its protection and sustainable management.
“Disputes in it should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS and the in the recent light of the 2016 Arbitral Award which singles out no one, was carefully crafted as to be unusable weapon for disputation; and most helpful in clarifying maritime issues. The Scandinavian countries, I am told, invoke it. H. E. Vivian Balakrishnan has said all the needs to be said impartially on this issue,” he added.
Secretary Locsin said as the Philippines ends its being Country Coordinator for negotiations on the Code of Conduct, it tried to accomplish as much on the COC negotiations as conditions allowed.
“Soon we turn over the work to Myanmar. Speaking of whom, we recognize that given its proximity to China, we hope China’s initiative in restoring peace and freedom to that sad land,” he further said as he expressed deep concern over developments in Myanmar. He explained Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez called on Washington that Myanmar should not be excluded from the vaccine assistance out of ‘humanitarian concerns’ as such would be inhuman to do.
He also called for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political detainees as well as her foreign adviser.
“Constructive dialogue is what the Five-Point Consensus calls for,” he said as he added this could only take place when everyone concerns is at the table. According to Secretary Locsin, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, remains the body, soul and face of her people as ASEAN’s survival as a credible partner for everyone, including China “hinges on this.”
“Can there be ASEAN centrality based on convenience rather than principle? Convenience by definition can never be principled,” Secretary Locsin concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)
Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. (DFA Photo)