Philippine President: APEC Meeting Defines Paths to Take

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Monday said the ninth Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic leaders' meeting defined the paths the country will take in the face of challenges.

In her speech on her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila after a successful three-day visit to China to attend the APEC meeting, Arroyo said the challenges included greater security in the face of the terrorist threat, promoting sustainable growth, sharing the benefits of globalization in the new economy and supporting the multilateral trading system.

"These paths are exemplified in two historic documents that came out of the meeting -- the APEC economic Leader's Declaration entitled Meeting New Challenges in the New Century and the APEC Economic Leaders' Statement on Counter Terrorism," Arroyo said.

Arroyo said the Philippine government will continue discussions within its immediate neighborhood in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand on closer exchanges of information and intelligence in the fight against the global menace.

Just before she took off from Shanghai Sunday night, Arroyo said that her meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin was " congenial and constructive."

"He (President Jiang) thanked me that the hostage crisis involving the Chinese national Zhang Zhongyi has finally ended," she said, adding that she assured President Jiang, "we will try our best to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals working on important projects in the Philippines" in the future.

Arroyo said during the bilateral meeting she congratulated Jiang for the "perfect hosting of APEC."

During her trip to Shanghai, she also met, on separate occasions, with the leaders of ASEAN, addressed the APEC Advisory Council and the APEC Chief Executive Officers Summit and presided over the inauguration of Metrobank Shanghai, the first Philippine bank in China and the signing of an agreement between the government and Microsoft Corporation on strengthening the Philippines' electronic monitoring system.

(Xinhua News Agency 10/22/2001)

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