Business trip

PRESIDENT Barack Obama welcomed leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Monday, Feb. 15, to discuss terrorism, maritime security, trade, and climate change.
“Economic growth that is inclusive, creating opportunity for all; mutual security and the peaceful resolution of disputes; human dignity, including respect for human rights, and development that is sustainable — that is our vision. That’s what brings us here together today,” Obama told the ASEAN heads of state.
President Benigno S. Aquino III was among the attendees of the two-day summit, which included leaders from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The first US-ASEAN summit aims to strengthen the partnership that the US has forged with ASEAN since 2009, and will further advance the administration’s rebalance to Asia and the Pacific. This new multilateral initiative also aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, fight corruption, empower citizens, and utilize new technologies to make governments accountable and effective.
“This ASEAN-US Special Summit is providing us an excellent opportunity to exchange our views and also provide direction for our officials in order to implement the outcome of previous ASEAN-US Summit in view of further strengthening our strategic partnership for the promotion of durable peace, stability, and prosperity for the future benefits of our nations and peoples,” Obama said.
According to Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr., the summit is an opportunity for leaders of the ASEAN and the US to have candid conversations about issues of mutual concern.
Cuisia also highlighted that the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the US have never been more vibrant. He added that the two countries have reaffirmed their commitment to maritime security, climate change, violent extremism and economic engagement.
“As we mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Philippine-US relations, we highlight the durability, comprehensiveness, and dynamism of our ties. We have always been supportive of the rebalance to Asia-Pacific policy of the United States as it is an opportunity to deepen further our alliance in various areas of cooperation,” he said.
Following the US-ASEAN summit, Aquino embarked on a working visit to Los Angeles where he had a series of meetings with officials of Walt Disney International, Western Digital Corporation, and AECOM’s Enterprise Growth Solutions. Before leaving the US, Aquino also met with members of the Fil-Am community to share with them good news from the Philippines.
This may be Aquino’s final visit to the United States as Philippine president. With limited experience in foreign policy and an apparent preference for concentrating on domestic issues, Aquino has managed to thrive with his official trips abroad.
The history of state visits goes back several hundred years. These formal visits are an important part of international diplomacy—to reinforce excellent relations, and intensify cooperation and exchanges between economies. There will never be a lack of subjects that need to be addressed between governments. Issues to be discussed such as economic balancing, security challenges and maritime cooperation, (of bilateral and global importance) should constantly be looked upon. Maintaining peace and stability is always a priority so that each country can focus on their own domestic issues.
State visits between important countries is an opportunity, not just for the attendees, but to each leader’s constituents as well. While Aquino’s state visits have yielded positive results, perhaps the trickier part of the process is making the outcome survive, years after the summit. (AJPress)

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