The Philippines called on its partners within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus Three (APT) to intensify cooperation toward pandemic response and recovery as the world continues to battle the coronavirus and its variants.
In a statement on Saturday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the APT must sustain the transition to a digital economy, particularly by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The APT meeting, which included South Korea, China, and Japan, was held virtually on Aug. 3.
In his omnibus intervention during the meeting, DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. highlighted the importance of MSMEs in the region’s post-pandemic recovery.
“The micro is equally as important as the macro. The recovery of micro, small, and medium enterprises is integral to the region’s post-pandemic recovery,” he said.
“They need to be equipped with the necessary tools to face disruptive technologies prompted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digitalization,” he added.
In addition, he emphasized the need to ensure the safe movement of people across East Asia, restore the stability of supply chains, maintain regional connectivity initiatives, and ensure the peaceful use of the sea under the rule of law.
The APT cooperation began in December 1997 with the convening of an informal summit among the leaders of ASEAN and the three other nations on the sidelines of the Second ASEAN Informal Summit in Malaysia.
The APT Summit was formalized in 1999 and has since become an important driver for advancing East Asian regionalism. (PNA)