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Arroyo seeks East Asian integration as ASEAN Summit opens


PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has made a pitch for continuing integration among countries in the East Asia as the ASEAN and East Asia Summits begin this Wednesday in Cebu City.

"The Philippines hosts the ASEAN summit at a time that the whole region is taking stock of the present and planning ahead for the future," the President said in a statement.

"Great stakes are involved in the continuing integration of the entire East Asia, which is driven by strong centripetal forces to close ranks for a safer and more secure community, more open and equitable trade, cooperation in all fronts of energy development, and the prosperity of its diverse peoples," Arroyo said.

"The meeting of ASEAN and East Asia leaders will be another opportunity to carve out new directions towards development, especially in the fight against poverty and building coalitions of technology," she said.

"We stand at the threshold of great challenges and opportunities, and timely decisions will enable ASEAN and East Asia to seize the moment and the momentum to achieve broader human security, peace, and prosperity at the grassroots of every village and community," Arroyo said.

The ASEAN Summit starts with the ministerial meetings. Heads of state will meet from January 13-15.

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