(Eagle News) — Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte stressed the importance of harnessing the economic strengths of Southeast Asian Nations as an agenda that he would push with his state visits to Cambodia and Singapore.
He would also raise cooperation in economic development and defense as important points in his state visits to the two countries.
The President arrived in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh on Tuesday, December 13, particularly at the Phnom Penh International Airport via Philippine Airlines chartered flight PR001 for his State Visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia from December 13-14, 2016.
Upon his arrival, he was welcomed by Philippine Ambassador to Cambodia Christopher Montero, Cambodian Ambassador to the Philippines Tout Panha, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Royal Palace Samdech Chaufea Veang Kong Som Ol, and Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith.
“With ASEAN integration, it is important that we harness the economic strengths and complementaries in our region to sustain growth beneficial to all,” he said in his speech before he left the country.
He stressed how this was important as the Philippines would be hosting the ASEAN Summit next year.
“This leadership role requires that we listen to all Asean brothers in order to build a common action agenda that will strengthen Southeast Asia for the benefit of its citizens,” he said.
President Duterte said his visit to Cambodia aims to reaffirm the country’s relations with its neighbors in Southeast Asia.
He is set to talk with the Cambodian leaders to discuss ways in intensifying bilateral cooperation and issues of mutual concern.
Duterte said he planned to raise issues of mutual concern with Prime Minister Hun Sen while in Cambodia. This would include defense and security measures, law enforcement, the war against the illegal trade of drugs and the protection of Filipino and Cambodian migrant workers.
The Philippine President met with the Filipino community in Phnom Penh on Tuesday (December 13) as one of his first activities during his two-day official visit to Cambodia.
Duterte led a group of his delegation, along with the famous Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, to meet the audience at a hotel in the city.
Meanwhile, the President said that “countering terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization will be the key areas of discussion as well as the war on illegal drugs,” when he meets later with Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Duterte said that Singapore is facing threats from extremist groups like the ISIS.
He said that in fact an extremist group monitored in Sulu was said to be led by a Singaporean.
“You’d be surprised that a Singaporean, as a nation with a very strict criminal laws and yet they are able to nurture a cell there of terrorists,” he noted.