President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will leave for Labuan Bajo, Indonesia today (Tuesday afternoon) for the 42nd ASEAN Summit, where he is expected to push for regional security, food and energy security, efforts toward economic recovery, and combating transnational crimes.
He is also expected to press for the upgrading of technical and vocational education training; adopting climate and disaster-resilient technologies and transitioning to renewable and alternative energy technologies; and protection of migrant workers.
The President just returned Sunday from a two-country swing for a five-day official visit to the US and a three-day visit to the UK to attend the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla.
The Summit began on Monday with the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM).
“The SOM will discuss a number of issues including the priorities of Indonesia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2023,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah.
ASEAN Leaders will begin discussions on Wednesday of a number of important issues in order to encourage a stronger ASEAN region in facing challenges, as well as strengthening the bloc’s economic resilience.
These are in line with the theme of the Indonesian chairmanship, “ASEAN Matters: Epicenter of Growth.”
The ASEAN leaders will hold interfaces with the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), the ASEAN Youth Representatives, ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC), and the High-Level Task Force on the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision.
The ASEAN leaders are also expected to adopt a roadmap on Timor Leste’s full membership in ASEAN.
The Prime Minister of Timor Leste, Taur Matan Ruak, is expected to attend the Summit as an observer for the first time.
Meanwhile, President Marcos will also participate in the 15th Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit to be convened on May 11 under the chairmanship of Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Ahead of the Leaders’ Summit, a convoy of diplomats from ASEAN member-states traveling in Myanmar came under fire from an unknown armed group, a military official and a diplomat said Monday.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since a military coup deposed Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration in February 2021.
On Sunday a convoy of several vehicles travelling in Taunggyi township in eastern Myanmar’s Shan State was attacked by an unknown armed group, a foreign diplomat based in Yangon told AFP on condition of anonymity.
“A convoy with some diplomats was attacked yesterday morning,” the source said.
The convoy was carrying diplomats from the embassies of Indonesia and Singapore and officials coordinating humanitarian relief from the ASEAN regional bloc, they added, noting that no casualties were reported.
A senior military official who did not want to be named confirmed to AFP that a convoy had been fired on.
The officials and diplomats had been traveling Sunday to “hand over humanitarian aid,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Monday.
“Regretfully on their way, there was a shootout,” he said, without giving any further details. With AFP