[PHOTO AT LEFT - Photo is loading... President Aquino had bilateral meetings with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard (left photo) and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam last week. The President returned to Manila last night.]

HANOI, NOVEMBER 1, 2010 (STAR) By Delon Porcalla – President Aquino is hopeful that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – of which he participated for the first time as chief executive last week here – in the G20 Summit will be institutionalized.

In a statement he delivered at the 13th ASEAN +3 Summit here, he noted South Korea’s support for the ASEAN chair’s participation in the upcoming G20 Summit in Seoul. South Korea is this year’s summit chair.

“Our march towards a more equitably progressive region should not be stymied. It remains our collective goal to enhance the resilience of the regional economy against international volatility and external shocks,” he said.

Mr. Aquino said that this month’s Summit in Seoul is an opportunity for ASEAN to raise issues of common interest. He added that accelerating reforms in international financial institutions to ensure inclusiveness and equitability are among the Philippines’ concerns.

“As we in the global south cooperate among ourselves, there remains a need to establish a framework for sustainable growth and development through closer coordination between G20 countries and non-G20 countries,” the President said.

The G20 was established in 1999, in the wake of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, to bring together major advanced and emerging economies to stabilize the global financial market.

Since its inception, the G20 has held annual Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meetings and discussed measures to promote the financial stability of the world and to achieve a sustainable economic growth and development.

The G20 is made up of the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries, namely, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The European Union, represented by the rotating council presidency and the European Central Bank, is the 20th member of G20.

It pays to be an Aquino, as Noy gets state invites By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated November 01, 2010 12:00 AM Comments (6) View comments

HANOI – Being the only son of a martyred opposition senator and a democracy icon, President Aquino is now reaping the fruits of the advocacies his parents had fought for, enjoying not only local but international recognition as well.

Already, his counterparts in Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar and New Zealand have personally extended their invites to Mr. Aquino when they all participated in the recently concluded 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and related summits here last week.

Apart from these, Mr. Aquino is also looking forward to his upcoming travel to Japan in mid-November, where he is slated to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, which will be held in Tokyo and Yokohama.

A jubilant President also revealed to Manila-based reporters over dinner late Saturday that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long had invited him to visit Singapore. So did Prime Minister Vejjajiva Abhisit of Thailand, New Zealand PM John Key and Myanmar PM Thein Sein to their respective countries.

Mr. Aquino said the Singaporean leader advised him to just set the date when he will be free. As for the rest, he also had to check his schedule.

The President’s promise to embark only on limited and fruitful trips may no longer be observed, following the successive invitations that are being extended by his fellow heads of state in the region.

On the other hand, Mr. Aquino has invited the leaders of Brunei and Vietnam to participate in this month’s launching of his Public-Private Partnership program.

Mr. Aquino was on a two-day state visit to Vietnam that ended on Oct. 27. He was Vietnam President Nguyen Minh Triet’s guest here since Oct. 26, after which they all attended the ASEAN Summit, which is headed by Vietnam this year.

Also, the Philippine president has invited Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darrusalam and President Lee Myung-Bak of South Korea to invest in the country.

Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office said the offers were made at the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Summit and related summits, where the three leaders had individual and separate bilateral meetings.

Carandang said the meeting with Bolkiah, which he described as “a very casual discussion,” was held at one of the numerous conference halls of the Melia Hotel here.

“The President invited Sultan Bolkiah and the Brunei Investment Agency to attend the public-private partnership conference in Manila next month,” Carandang said.

The PPP program was created through the President’s issuance of Executive Order 8 transferring the Build-Operate-Transfer Center under the helm of the National Economic and Development Authority, in a bid to hasten the implementation of public-private partnership programs.

The center, which was named Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines, aims to accelerate the financing, construction and operation of key government infrastructure projects.

Carandang also said prospective South Korean investors could avail themselves of the Aquino administration’s public-private partnership program.

“We also took the opportunity to invite the Koreans to send a delegation to the PPP conference in November,” he said.

The meeting, which Carandang described as casual, provided the Philippines with an opportunity to thank South Korea “for its support in investments and trade and the growing amount of assistance that they are providing for different projects in the Philippines.”

“The Koreans are the largest group of tourists coming into the country lately and so we’ve also assured them that we are taking steps to improve the security situation so that they do not have to worry about their safety,” he said.

Carandang said the President also offered Philippine assistance in the Six-Party Talks of which South Korea is a part.

“We leave it up to the Six-Party countries to decide if they want to take us up on the offer. Anything from participating as a mediator to hosting possible talks was offered by President Aquino so we are eager to see if the Six-Party Talks move forward and if there’s anything the Philippines can do to help, we will do so,” Carandang said.

The Six-Party Talks are aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear program through a negotiating process involving China, the United States, North and South Korea, Japan, and Russia.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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