Philippines hails Japan, Malaysia role in search for peace in Mindanao

May. 27, 2007

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo paid tribute to Japan and Malaysia for their invaluable contribution to the Philippines quest for lasting peace in Mindanao during her recent trip to Japan to attend the 13th Nikkei Conference, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio R. Bunye said.

“At the dinner hosted by the Nikkei Shimbun at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, last week, President Arroyo extolled the role of Japan and Malaysia, not just as prime movers in the East Asian Community, but as valuable allies in our quest for permanent peace in Mindanao,” Bunye said in his column “View from the Palace” which comes out tomorrow (Monday).

He said Japan is a member of the international monitoring team (IMT) headed by Malaysia “to help steer the peace talks to a successful conclusion.”

“Malaysia has been facilitating the peace talks, while Japan has been making significant economic investments there,” Bunye said.

He said the President cited these “non-military activities” of the two countries as “significant contributions to the Mindanao peace process.”

“With their help, as well as the help of other countries like Indonesia, the United States and the European Union countries, we have forged a new paradigm for peace in Mindanao that relies on soft power, interfaith dialogue and an expanding cast of international players to keep the peace,” Bunye said.

The President also rallied the support of other Asian leaders in the formation of an East Asian Community patterned after the European Union (EU) to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in Asia.

She said that at a time when world alliances on Iraq and the World Trade Organization (WTO) were experiencing strains, it was important that new partnerships are formed to ensure global peace and stability.

The idea of an East Asian Community transcends geographical definition since some of its proposed members, including Russia, India and South Korea, are not part of East Asia, she said. The EAC concept stemmed from the common view that “economic engagement is a more compelling criterion in the minds of our Asian brothers than a geographical location,” she added.

The President said the an East Asian Community would be a bold step toward forging new alliances to keep the world strong and stable, noting that while the European Union was historically beset by conflict, it is now a “force for peace and security.”

“The same way in our region that has faced many of the same historic divisions, a more united region” would also emerge as a force for security and peace, she said. (OPS) (

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