President Rodrigo Duterte wants the newly formed Australia, United Kingdom and United States (AUKUS) trilateral partnership to respect the authority of the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) when it comes to security matters of the regional bloc.

During his virtual speech at the 9th ASEAN-US Summit last Tuesday, Duterte said he welcomes the commitment of the AUKUS to help in the promotion of peace and stability in Southeast Asia. 

But he stressed AUKUS should coordinate with ASEAN, when it comes to security matters in Southeast Asia including the issue of the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

“But one thing should be clear for all stakeholders. ASEAN”s central role in the evolving regional security architecture must be strengthened. And that this or other arrangements must complement and not complicate our working methods of cooperation,” Duterte said. 

Duterte said he continues to support the continuous  engagement of the US with ASEAN, when it comes to political, economic, and socio-cultural matters. 

He said he hopes the US could further support the regional bloc in creating the ASEAN Public Health Emergency Cooperation System as well as the region’s digital development.

“For more than 40 years now, ASEAN-US dialogue relations continue to evolve on the basis of our shared strategic interests of regional peace, security, and prosperity,” Duterte said. 

Duterte also thanked the US for its support for the 2016 Arbitral Award as well as its novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine donations in ASEAN.





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