ASEAN IN FOCUS

Thai PM vows no letup in human trafficking crackdown

JUNE 5 (Reuters) — Thailand’s prime minister said on Friday (June 5) his government was seriously committed to tackling the illicit trade in people and vowed no letup in its crackdown, announcing June 5 as a “national anti-human trafficking day”. The United States last year downgraded Thailand to its “Tier 3” list of worst offenders – alongside the likes of Iran and North Korea – in its annual ranking of countries by their counter-trafficking efforts. […]

Manila, Tokyo to start talks on letting Japan use Philippine military bases

JUNE 5 (Reuters) — The Philippines and Japan are to start talks on allowing Japanese military aircraft and naval vessels to use bases in the Philippines for refueling and picking up supplies, enabling them to extend their patrol range deep into the South China Sea, Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on Friday (June 5). The agreement would be a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which would clear the way for the Japanese military to use Philippines’ […]

Aquino thanks Japan’s business leaders for investing in the Phl; pushes for further economic cooperation

JUNE 4 (Reuters) — Philippine President Benigno Aquino met with business leaders in Tokyo on Thursday (June 4) to further show the Southeast Asian country’s commitment to an amicable relationship with Japan not only by security ties but also through economic cooperation. In the early morning of the second day of his four-day visit to Japan, Aquino addressed a room full of businessmen and women and talked about the Philippines’ appreciation of Japan’s past and […]

President Aquino, Emperor Akihito talk of “deep and abiding friendship” between Phl and Japan

JUNE 4 (Eagle News) — President Benigno S. Aquino III and Emperor Akihito paid tribute to the “deep and abiding friendship” between the Philippines and Japan and of the strategic partnership between their people during a state banquet hosted by the latter and his wife, Empress Michiko, in honor of the visiting Philippine leader at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan. In his remarks during the state banquet on Wednesday evening (June 3), President Aquino […]

Aquino: Phl-Japan partnership to counterbalance maritime disputes in South China Sea

JUNE 4 (Eagle News) — President Aquino told members of Japan’s National Diet that a strong Philippine-Japanese partnership would be a vital counterbalance against regional instability created by conflicting claims in the South China Sea. In his speech delivered before Japan’s National Diet, which is the country’s bicameral legislature, Aquino said the current economic and people-to-people engagement between the Philippines and Japan is a shining example of what can be achieved when peace and stability […]

U.S. urges Myanmar to improve Rohingya living standards

  Living conditions for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar should be improved to discourage them from making risky sea journeys at the hands of human traffickers, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State said on Friday (May 22). Antony Blinken made the comments after holding talks with the government in the capital Naypyidaw, to discuss the migrant crisis that has left thousands of people stranded on overcrowded boats in the Bay of Bengal. Myanmar’s military chief said […]

Myanmar says finds more than 200 Bangladeshis in boat offshore

Myanmar’s navy has brought ashore 200 Bangladeshis found in a boat off its coast, after its military chief said some of the thousands of migrants that have landed in Malaysia and Indonesia this month are pretending to be Rohingya Muslims to get UN aid. In response, a senior U.S. official said on Friday (May 22) that the majority of the more than 3,000 migrants that have come ashore are Rohingya fleeing desperate conditions in Rakhine […]

UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-Moon visits Vietnam, makes remarks on South China Sea dispute

MAY 22 (Reuters) — United Nation General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon met with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang in Hanoi Friday (May 22) as part of his two-day visit to the South East Asia nation. The General Secretary discussed with Vietnamese leaders on UN-Vietnam cooperation, UN peacekeeping operations and other issues, including regional security and human rights. Vietnam became a UN member in 1977 and is a current member of the UN Human Rights Council for […]

7th ASEAN Working Group on Environmental Education convenes in Manila

MANILA (Eagle News Service) – To promote ASEAN cooperation in the field of the environment, different working groups consisting of representatives from ASEAN member states convene annually to discuss the steps made by each country for a cleaner and greener region. The ASEAN had developed and implemented the ASEAN Environmental Education Action Plan, which helps the citizens through formal and non-formal education to participate and become active players in the development of ecologically sustainable societies. Brunei Darussalam […]

Thai defense minister denies migrants boats are pushed back to sea

Thailand’s defence minister, General Pravit Wongsuwan, on Monday (May 18) denied that the country was pushing migrant boats back into the open sea. Pravit presided over a meeting with the Royal Thai Navy’s Region 3 in the country’s southern beach town of Phuket, to follow up on the navy’s operation on the migrant crisis in southeast Asia. Southeast Asian governments have so far shown little sign of a coordinated response to the boatloads of Bangladeshi […]

ASEAN Senior Officials on Culture and Arts Promote Culture, Art, and Community

MAY 18 (ASEAN Secretariat News) — ASEAN Senior Officials on Culture and the Arts met at the ASEAN Secretariat last week, 12-14 May, to set policies and strategies on promoting the culture and art sector of the ASEAN region. They also discussed how to celebrate the launching of ASEAN Community by the end of 2015, as well as ways for culture and the arts to contribute to building a people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN. “A key challenge […]

Indonesia struggles to provide some facilities for migrants

MAY 18 (Reuters) — Local Indonesian authorities in Aceh said on Monday (May 18) that shelters for migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh, lack basic showering facilities. Nearly 800 migrants came ashore in Aceh in Indonesia on Friday (May 15), taking the number that have made land in Indonesia and the northwest of Malaysia to more than 2,500 over the past week. One local Indonesian government official said while they had enough food for the migrants, […]