MANILA, August 30, 2003 (STAR) By Paolo Romero  - China’s No. 2 leader, Wu Bangguo, arrives today to meet with his counterparts among Asian parliament leaders for a five-day summit in Manila to strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation against international terrorism and hasten economic development in the region, Speaker Jose de Venecia said yesterday.

Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, is scheduled to arrive at 2 p.m. with a 100-man party for the 4th General Assembly of the Association of Asian Parliaments for Peace (AAPP) at the Manila Hotel from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4.

De Venecia and Wu will hold bilateral talks tomorrow and attend a reception and state dinner at Malacañang hosted by President Arroyo.

Wu will turn over the AAPP presidency to De Venecia at the opening ceremonies on Monday.

The AAPP secretariat said all conference preparations are in place, including security arrangements. The theme of the Manila summit is "Towards a Hundred Years of Peace in Asia," an initiative to marshal the parliaments of Asia to rally behind global and regional efforts to bring about lasting peace.

De Venecia has proposed counter-terrorism cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) three-power alliance of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization led by China and Russia.

"This will surely enhance the global war against terrorism," he said. "I am optimistic that Chairman Wu Bangguo will underline his country’s continued commitment to international peace."

Eight other heads of Asian parliaments are expected to arrive for the meet: Thailand’s Speaker Utai Primchaichon, Malaysian Senate President Abdul Hamid Pawaanteh, Mongolia’s Speaker Snjbegz Tumur Ochir, Cambodia’s Prince Norodom Ranarridh, Bhutan’s Speaker Ugen Dorje, Papua New Guinea’s Speaker Bill Skate and Nepal’s Speaker Ranabhat.

Also expected to attend the confab are Deputy Speaker Tosari Widjaja of Indonesia, Laotian National Assembly Vice President Pany Yathotou, Deputy President Gaparr Garrho of the Malaysian Senate, Deputy Speaker Akhter Hamid Siddiqui of Bangladesh, Deputy Speaker and Vice President Nguyen Phuc Thanh of the Vietnamese National Assembly.

The AAPP is composed of the parliaments of 37 nations, having grown from its founding count of 26 nations. The AAPP was founded in 1999 in Bangladesh, in consonance with a commitment made by then Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik Hasina to unite parliaments for the purpose of promoting, sustaining and strengthening peace in Asia and the rest of the world.

AAPP member-nations include the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Cyprus, China, Thailand, Bhutan Indonesia, South Korea, Kuwait, Mongolia, Nepal, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Bangladesh.

Non-AAPP members who are sending representatives to the meet include Japan, Kazakhstan and Papua New Guinea.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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