ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Aquino and Abhisit meet
In a government statement, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said that President Aquino and Abhisit discussed increasing trade and close ties between Manila and Bangkok by undertaking joint investment programs in the automotive and energy sectors.
"That's why we are going to have a joint committee meeting sometime this year precisely to look at all those areas where the trade and investment would be encouraged from the Philippines, Thailand and Asean sides," Romulo added.
Secretary Ricky Carandang, who was also present at the meeting, said that the President and Abhisit also sought to strengthen their local currencies. Carandang added that the two leaders agreed that "central bankers and finance ministers" from both countries and the Asean should meet more frequently to come up with common positions on how to deal with their strengthening local currencies.
"We all recognize and the President pointed out that our currencies are strong because of the weakness of the US dollar. So, to some extent, these are global factors affecting currencies, but nevertheless the two leaders agreed that there should be more frequent contact between central bankers and finance ministers of the two countries and Asean so we can coordinate more closely our actions because of the strong currencies that we are seeing right now which could have an impact on exports," he said.
Carandang said that the President and the Thai premier also discussed disaster risk reduction and management.
He added that the two also agreed that Myanmar should "move more rapidly on its roadmap to democracy."
In a separate statement, Mr. Aquino said that he expects the Asean to come up with more "concrete steps" in dealing with the problems of the region at the conclusion of the Asean Summit on October 30.
"As we can gather from this year's Asean theme, 'Toward the Asean Community: From Vision to Action,' there are so many problems that affect the entire region like global warming and the issue of piracy. So many issues that really affect not only one state but in effect the entire state," the President said in the statement.
"Even the growth of our economy is so dependent on acting in unison and in concert with those who are our closest neighbors so we expect that there will be more concrete steps toward harmonizing and really unifying the entire Asean region to act as one in addressing the problems that we all face," he added.
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