By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – Asia-Pacific nations are keen on charting their own path to success without embracing the “Cold War” mentality, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Monday.
Marcos issued the statement, as he noted that Asia-Pacific countries are facing “strong” pressure to take sides because of the intense geopolitical rivalry in the region.
Despite this, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies are committed to the idea of abandoning the Cold War mindset, Marcos said.
“The forces of us going back to that Cold War type of scenario where you have to choose one side or the other are strong,” he said during a luncheon hosted for him and Filipino chief executive officers by the Philippine economic team in Davos, Switzerland.
“I think we are determined as a group in ASEAN and in the Indo-Pacific, those around the Indo-Pacific, despite all of this conflict we are determined to stay away from that,” Marcos added.
The Cold War refers to the period of conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as their respective allies, which began almost immediately after World War II.
The Asia-Pacific region, Marcos said, is focused on pursuing its own destiny without being controlled by any country.
“And simply because we are anchored in the idea that the future of the Indo-Pacific, the future of Asia-Pacific for example cannot be determined by anyone but the countries of the Asia-Pacific and that removes us immediately from that idea that you must choose, we choose our friends, we choose our neighbors, that’s the choice that we will make,” Marcos said.
Marcos said while there are some disruptions, world economies are still geared toward globalization.
For now, the world has to deal with “several big bumps on the road,” Marcos said, adding that there are tendencies for nations to move “towards nationalism, towards closing borders, towards protectionism.”
“I think the tendency after things have settled, after countries such as the Philippines, have put in place the elements of policy, the elements of legislation that are necessary to be able to adjust to what is the new coming economy, once that is in place, I think that the globalization will start. We will start to return to the tendency of globalization. I think it is inevitable,” he said.
‘Very strong’ trade relations
Marcos acknowledged that the present crises such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and the Russia-Ukraien conflict have an adverse impact in the future of the world.
To overcome global challenges, Marcos said “very strong” trade ties among world economies are “key to wealth for any country.”
“No country grew wealthy without a very strong trade relationship, not only with one or two other countries but with the rest of the world,” he said.
The Philippines, Marcos said, aims to strengthen its economy, given that the Covid-19 pandemic brought the country back to the basics.
“I’ll use the Philippines as an example… What happened during the pandemic is that we were brought back with a hard thud to basics and so we have to strengthen our own local economy to be able to withstand shocks such as the pandemic, such as Ukraine in the future,” Marcos said.
“And a central part of that has always been my continuing reminder to people that we, the government, cannot do this alone. And the partnerships that we will need, a strong partnership with the private sector and your being here and in the past, have been so supportive is a primary element and most important element for that to succeed,” he added. (PNA)