ASEAN China Senior Officials Consultation 1

DFA Acting Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and ASEAN Affairs Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro calls for enhanced cooperation to combat transnational crime, address climate change, disaster relief management, and cybersecurity at the 28th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Consultation. (DFA-ASEAN photo)

MANILA, 11 June 2022 – DFA Acting Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations and ASEAN Affairs and Philippine Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Leader, Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro, called for enhanced cooperation to address climate change, disaster relief management, combat transnational crime, and cybersecurity, in a meeting with senior officials from ASEAN Member States and China on 10 June 2022.

During the 28th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Consultation (ACSOC) held by video conference, the Philippine SOM Leader stressed that economic recovery must also endeavor sustainable development, including abating global warming. 

“The Philippines’ thrust, being a maritime nation, has always involved ecological integrity and the protection of our biodiversity and the marine environment,” she underscored. Acting Undersecretary Lazaro urged support for the work of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity hosted by the Philippines.

As the region is often hit by calamities, the DFA official called for holistic and sustained efforts to implement the environment cooperation strategy between ASEAN and China, and deepen cooperation on disaster and disaster relief management, including capacity-building.

The Philippine SOM Leader also highlighted the need to advance measures in combatting terrorism and other transnational crimes, which continue to thrive and proliferate amidst the pandemic. 

Given increased vulnerability to cyberthreats and disinformation, she advocated for the strengthening of the ASEAN-China Cyber Dialogue, as well as prioritizing inter-agency cooperation, confidence-building measures and scaling up digital literacy to bolster overall digital resilience.

ASEAN and China also reaffirmed the commitment to conclude an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC), the Meeting also sought to prepare for the activities to commemorate the event.  

The Meeting also discussed cooperation on public health, socio-economic recovery, as well as proposed initiatives and activities to implement the ASEAN-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which was established in 2021. END