Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
PHOTO BY PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS
MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday said he will sponsor the entry of Turkey and Mongolia into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) despite a criterion that any new member should be located in the region.
During a news briefing in Davao City last Tuesday on his return from China, Duterte said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat told him in separate meeting of their desire to join the regional group.
Duterte met the two leaders during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. “They want to join Asean and since I am now the chair, they wanted me to sponsor their entry and I said, ‘Yes, why not,'” Duterte said.
The ASEAN is composed of the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Turkey is located between Asia and Europe while Mongolia is situated between China and Russia.
Duterte said when he told Myanmar de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who also attended the Beijing forum, about including Turkey and Mongolia in the ASEAN, he quoted Suu Kyi as saying: Have you considered the physical, the geography, whether they are part of ASEAN or not?”
He told Suu Kyi they are part of the region. “They are. I would say they are,” he recalled telling the lady leader,
Meanwhile, the ASEAN secretariat in Jakarta said they have not received any application from Turkey and Mongolia to part of the bloc. GAC/Expat Media
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