President Duterte formally handed over last night the gavel to Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to symbolize Singapore’s turn to host and chair the 32nd and 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summits and related meetings next year.
The official turnover happened during the closing ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit and related summits at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City Tuesday night.
PM Lee said Singapore, as Asean chairman next year, will seek to ensure the group promotes and upholds a rules-based regional order. PM Lee also said Singapore was honored to accept the gavel from the Philippines. The chairmanship of the group rotates among its 10 members-states yearly.
Lee thanked the Philippines for achieving during its yearlong chairmanship the adoption of a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, the conclusion of a free trade agreement between Asean and Hong Kong, and the adoption of an Asean agreement on the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers.
According to Prime Minister Lee Singapore’s chairmanship for 2018 will have the tagline “Resilient and Innovative”.