Closer integration of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), energy security and counter- terrorism will top the highlights in the forthcoming 12th ASEAN summit and related summits held in Cebu, the Philippines, on Dec. 10-14, officials said Wednesday.
Speaking at a press briefing on the 12th ASEAN summit and related summits, Luis Cruz, Assistant Secretary-General of Department of Foreign Affairs and director general for ASEAN Affairs under the Philippine government, said ASEAN leaders and its dialogue partners will focus on issues like the ASEAN integration, energy security and other issues during the four-day summits.
Relations among ASEAN countries are expected to deepen as leaders of the 10-member ASEAN will discuss measures that would accelerate the bloc's economic integration within the region.
The ASEAN Charter recommended by the Eminent Persons Group would also be discussed during the summit together with other initiatives for regional peace and security, said Cruz.
The 12th ASEAN summit will push forward their cooperation on services sectors, with the focus of the deployment of migrant workers, particularly nurses, in the region, according to Cruz.
He said that nurses from the Philippines and other member countries could freely move within the region under the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) expected to be signed next week by the ASEAN economic ministers.
Official Summit spokesman Victorino Lecaros, who is also the Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia, said the migrant workers agreement seeks to provide migrant workers free access to the courts of the country where they are working.
On other highlights of the summits, Cruz said leaders from ASEAN and its dialogue partners, namely China, Japan and Republic of Korea, together with India, Australia and New Zealand, will also discuss ways to address the energy security situation, a common problem of many countries in the region.
The leaders will also try to find ways to realize the Millennium Goal defined by the 2000 United Nations General Meeting, he said.
Documents on closer regional cooperation, efforts to fight terrorism, the welfare of children and energy independence through the development of biofuels and other issues are to be taken up during the summits.
An ASEAN committee in charge of security and transnational crime is drafting the convention that involves different forms of cooperation to combat terrorism, particularly international terrorism, according to ASEAN diplomats.
Through its chairmanship, the Philippines has set the theme of the 12th ASEAN summit as "One Caring and Sharing Community" in a hope to speed up ASEAN integration and community building.
Established in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia. Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.