MANILA, April 10 - The Republic of the Philippines hosted the 8th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Inter-Sessional Meeting (ISM) on Maritime Security from April 06 to 07 in Makati City. The Meeting brought together 103 officials from the ASEAN Member States, Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, and the US, as well as ASEAN Secretariat officials.
In his keynote address to open the meeting, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo underlined the Philippines’ commitment to pursue regional efforts to build a rules-based maritime security architecture in Asia.
Undersecretary Manalo highlighted the Philippines' interests as a maritime and archipelagic nation as well as the country’s adherence to international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
He emphasized the Philippines' active support for building an ASEAN community that enhances maritime security and cooperation, as well as adopts internationally-accepted maritime conventions and principles to promote peace and stability in the region through ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the ARF.
The Meeting's agenda covers discussions on challenges, relevant best practices, legal frameworks, and regional arrangements to inform efforts to deepen ARF cooperation. Thematic discussions focus on (1) Security and Cooperation; (2) Safety of Navigation and (3) Marine Environment and Sustainable Development.
The Meeting is likewise took a closer look at the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) Vision 2025 and its maritime security agenda. It is also reviewing outcomes of recent activities of relevant ASEAN maritime-related bodies and mechanisms.
The Philippines is co-chairing the ARF-ISM on Maritime Security along with Japan and the United States for 2015-2017.
The ARF is the foremost multilateral forum of the 27 Member States for official consultations on peace and security issues in the Asia-Pacific Region. (DFA)