ASEAN Summit

What you need to know about Marcos’ first ASEAN summit

Bea Cupin
What you need to know about Marcos’ first ASEAN summit

OFFICIAL VISIT. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to participate in the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits from November 10u201313, 2022.

Malacau00f1ang Photo

The Philippine president joins the ASEAN summit in Cambodia – the first to be held in person since the pandemic 

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. flew out of Manila on Wednesday, November 9, for Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to participate in his first regional summit as head of state – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit from November 10 to 13.

The 40th and 41st Summits in Phnom Penh will be the first in-person gathering of ASEAN leaders and their dialogue partners during the pandemic. 

What will Marcos bring up during the summit? 

According to Malacañang, “post-pandemic economic recovery and transformation” will be among the top priorities of Marcos at the ASEAN summit. A “post COVID-19 recovery” agenda is also top of mind for ASEAN chairman Cambodia.

Marcos is set to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from host country Cambodia, South Korea, Canada, and France.

In his departure statement at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Wednesday, Marcos said he aims to “promote and protect Philippine interests in ASEAN.”

“We will emphasize regional cooperation on maritime security, climate change, food security, health cooperation and economic recovery amongst others. We will also address regional  issues such as the pandemic and the situation in  Myanmar, developments in the South China Sea, and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, among other important matters,” said Marcos.

By “developments in the South China Sea,” Marcos means continuing to push for a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea – a goal that continues to be but a dream two decades after the ASEAN and China signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in Phnom Penh.

As in all his previous travels, Marcos will meet with the Filipino community in Cambodia. This will be among his last activities before he flies back to Manila.

The President will be joined by several Cabinet members in Phnom Penh, including Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, and Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo.

First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos joined the President in Phnom Pehn. The spouses of the ASEAN leaders also have their own program on the sidelines of the summit.

What is ASEAN? 

ASEAN was founded on August 8, 1967, with the aim of forging “cooperation in the economic, social, cultural, technical, educational and other fields, and in the promotion of regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter,” according to the ASEAN website. The Philippines is among its founding members, along with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. 

The ASEAN Declaration proclaimed the organization as representing “the collective will of the nations of Southeast Asia to bind themselves together in friendship and cooperation and, through joint efforts and sacrifices, secure for their peoples and for posterity the blessings of peace, freedom and prosperity.”

Other member countries – Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia, joined ASEAN in succeeding years. Cambodia is the youngest member, having joined only in 1999. 

What are the ‘related summits’?

The yearly summit also includes ASEAN meetings with its dialogue partners.

The ASEAN+3 meeting brings together ASEAN member countries plus China, South Korea, and Japan while the East Asia Summit (EAS), includes countries from the Global North (China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, India, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States).

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) includes the 10 ASEAN dialogue partners (Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the United States), Bangladesh, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste.

Summits will also be held between ASEAN and Japan, ASEAN and South Korea, ASEAN and India, ASEAN and the US, ASEAN and Australia, and ASEAN and Canada, among others.

Heads of state will also meet with the United Nations Secretary General during the summit.

Prior to his trip to Cambodia, Marcos traveled to Singapore ad Indonesia in early September for his first state visits, and then to the US for a weeklong working visit to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). A little over a week after, Marcos made a controversial visit to Singapore to watch the Singapore Grand Prix.

The President is also set to head to Bangkok, Thailand, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting, also in November, and then to Brussels, Belgium, in December for the European Union-ASEAN Business Summit. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.