Duterte calls for stronger ties for inclusive recovery, climate action in Asia-Europe Meeting

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 26) — President Rodrigo Duterte called for stronger economic ties for recovery and climate action during the virtual 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit.

During the second plenary session, Duterte highlighted the importance of multilateral actions to boost recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the effects climate change.

He reiterated the willingness of the Philippines to resume negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union that is seen to help lift millions of Filipinos out of poverty. He also renewed support for an open and fair trading system under the World Trade Organization.

The President also emphasized the need to safely reopen borders and for a framework for vaccine certificate recognition that is non-discriminatory and follows World Health Organization standards.

On climate change, Duterte appealed for climate justice, stressing that "those who benefitted from our planet the most must do more."

In his speech during the retreat session, he repeated the stand of the Philippines that maritime disputes must be settled peacefully in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Specifically in the South China Sea, Duterte said it must "remain a sea of peace, stability and prosperity, where the vital interests of stakeholders inside and outside the region are recognized and respected."

"We acknowledge China's reaffirmation of commitment to an early conclusion of negotiations on a substantive and effective Code of Conduct on the South China Sea," he added.