BUSAN, South Korea—The fight against common challenges such as terrorism and other transnational crimes should unite East Asia and Latin America all the more despite their geographic distance, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said here Friday.
Cayetano, in South Korea for the 8th Forum for East Asia-Latin American Cooperation (FEALAC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in this southern port city, said transnational crime, climate change, and pandemics by their very nature, “respect no boundaries and recognize no distance.”
“I am heartened to see that our Busan Declaration addresses issues such as protectionism, counterterrorism, and threats to cybersecurity,” the Secretary said in his remarks at the Forum.
“Instead of dividing us, these concerns now offer new avenues for us to work together and bridge the gap between our regions,” Cayetano said.
He also underscored Manila’s effort to re-engage bilateral partners in the Latin American region, which share the same Hispanic heritage.
“FEALAC remains an important link in facilitating meaningful dialogue and concrete cooperation between East Asia and Latin America, and the Philippines is committed to reinvigorating its engagement with its Latin American partners as envisioned under President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s independent foreign policy,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano enjoined FEALAC member countries to ensure the projects under the new FEALAC Action Plan would remain responsive to the needs of the people of both regions.
The meeting adopted the Busan Declaration, which provided a direction for deeper and more comprehensive cooperation for the future.
It highlighted the following initiatives:
1) Endorsement of the new FEALAC Action Plan which seeks to put together multiple lines of ongoing and future efforts and will continue to be reviewed and updated to reflect the newest developments;
Establishment of a FEALAC Fund to finance the group’s flagship and bi-regional projects and activities; and
3) Creation of a FEALAC Experts Group Pool and FEALAC mechanisms to provide more tangible outputs to create a momentum for a FEALAC Special Summit and yearly Foreign Ministers Meetings.
The FEALAC FMM was attended by ministers, vice ministers, and senior officials from 36 FEALAC member countries (16 from East Asia and 20 from Latin America).
The Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is held once every two years, with the last one held in Costa Rica in August 2015.
The next FEALAC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is scheduled for 2019.
FEALAC is the only forum for bi-regional dialogue between East Asia and Latin America, with the Philippines as a founding member of FEALAC.