Fight vs terror, violence high on Asean ministers' agenda


The framework was finalised during the senior officials meeting in Guiyang, China, last May, he said.

Apart from the ministers' meeting, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano would also chair the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers' meeting, with Japan, China and Korea; the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting, which includes ASEAN members and eight other non-ASEAN partners; and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), a key multilateral security dialogue.

In a press briefing at Malacañang on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said countering terrorism and violent extremism is "high on the agenda" of the Asean foreign ministers who will be meeting in Manila from August 2 to 8.

"So after it is endorsed, after the approval process has been done, dealt with, we expect that the talks on the actual Code of Conduct will begin in earnest", he added.

He said the framework "basically presents an outline of the code of conduct".

"This is actually a very big step that we have a framework that will be endorsed by the ministers in a few days".

China said that disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved by claiming parties and should not allow outsiders to resolve the dispute.

The South China Sea is a vital sea lane where oil and natural gas have been discovered in several areas. Other claimants are Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Efforts to finalise the pact have dragged on for years.

"Definitely, counterterrorism and violence [are] high on the agenda of the Asean, and we expect the ministers to have a fairly extensive discussion on the topic", Bolivar said.

Oscar Albayalde in a news briefing said 13,000 police have been deployed, along with nearly 1,290 attached personnel from other agencies, to ensure the safety of the 1,700 delegates including 27 foreign ministers from both ASEAN and non-member states.

"We have not monitored any threat, but we have to put in place target-hardening measures to prevent any untoward incidents, even those not related to the Asean meetings", he said.