Oct 13, 2012

Philippines - US wants expanded Asean Maritime Forum institutionalized

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MANILA, Philippines - The United States wants the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) institutionalized to allow the annual meeting of 18 countries belonging to the East Asia Summit (EAS), including the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member-states.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun said on Friday that the EAMF conference could be conducted after the yearly ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF).

The expanded forum is composed of 18 countries, including the US and the ASEAN members, with the same format of the EAS.

“And so when we joined EAS last year we became a member of expanded maritime forum. Although it has not been decided whether this format will continue, certainly our country will be very, very supportive of that. We would welcome this becoming institutionalized,” Yun said.

The 1st EAMF hosted by the Philippines was held in Manila on Friday. It was chaired by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Erlinda Basilio and was attended by delegates from various governments and non-government groups from the EAS participating countries Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, US, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the 10 ASEAN member-states.

“The ASEAN Maritime Forum is already institutionalized. What I was hoping this too will similarly be institutionalized so each time ASEAN meet we also meet for expanded discussion,” Yun added.

In the chairman’s statement, the Philippines said the 1st EAMF was convened in response to the statement of ASEAN leaders, as well as the leaders of the EAS, in Bali, Indonesia in November 2011, who encouraged a “dialogue involving EAS participating countries to utilize opportunities and address common challenges on maritime issues, building upon the existing ASEAN Maritime Forum.”

They also “positively noted the proposal of convening an expanded AMF, back-to-back with the future meetings of the AMF, to include countries in the wider East Asia region.”

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