Japan, Korea Urged to Join ASEAN Energy Cooperation

Manila Bulletin, December 14, 2005 | Go to article overview

Japan, Korea Urged to Join ASEAN Energy Cooperation


Byline: GENALYN D. KABILING

KUALA LUMPUR (via PLDT) a" President Arroyo yesterday called on Japan and South Korea to venture on energy cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), particularly in setting up a regional stockpile of ethanol fuel, to counter the threat posed by fluctuations in world oil prices.

Also at the ASEAN-Japan-South Korea-China Summit, Mrs. Arroyo:

a" Called on India to join ASEAN in reinforcing security in the vulnerable sea lanes of the region commonly hit by pirates and armed thieves.

a" Urged China, Russia and other Central Asian states to link up with the group in combating terrorists and other extremist elements.

The President also encouraged Japan and South Korea to join cooperative efforts to intensify oil and gas exploration in the disputed China Sea similar to the joint seismic cooperation among the Philippines, Vietnam and China in the South China Sea.

"We should be able to work effectively to secure energy resources for our region," she said in her remarks during the summit here as she emphasized the need to mitigate the effects of the rising oil prices on peoples and economies.

Mrs. Arroyo suggested that ASEAN, with the help of its dialogue partners, immediately embark on reviewing arrangements for a regional hub/exchange for ethanol fuel to ensure a steady supply of fuel for the region in case of an oil shortage or disruption.

Arroyo offered the use of the Subic Bay Terminal Freeport as the site for the planned oil hub in the region. She noted that Japan has already assisted the Philippines and Thailand in making feasibility studies on oil stockpiling.

She also urged ASEAN, Japan and Korea to pursue investments on energy infrastructure and the development of "promising" alternative and indigenous energy sources available in East Asia such as ethanol, coco-diesel, wind and solar energy.

She said they could invest collectively in ethanol plants in Southeast Asiaas sugar-producing regions as well as in the production of diesel oil from coconuts available in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Arroyo noted that Korea has invested heavily in electric power plants in the Philippines and contributed to the electrification in the countryside.

The President, meantime, urged Japan and Korea to follow the model of the Philippines, Vietnam and China currently conducting oil and exploration in the disputed waters of the South China Sea in resolving their bitter claims over China Sea.

Japan is also in dispute with China over ocean resources and over ownership of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

"If the Philippines, Vietnam, China could do seismic research in a disputed sea, thatas a model that can be done by the other ASEAN Plus countries that are disputing the seas," she said in an interview Monday night.

During the summit meetings, the ASEAN leaders have agreed to integrate their economies further, intensify efforts to combat terrorism, and fight disease outbreaks. They also called on Myanmar to accelerate its democratic reforms and release political detainees.

Myanmar has reportedly agreed to allow an ASEAN delegation to assess its progress towards democracy and meet the countryas opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. …

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