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PH backs Timor-Leste's ASEAN bid.

The Philippines has expressed its support for Timor-Leste's application to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the 11th member state.

During his meeting with visiting Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Hernani Coelho Da Silva, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario reiterated that "Timor Leste belongs to Southeast Asia and should be granted its rightful place within the ASEAN community."

Timor-Leste sought membership in the ASEAN in 2007, and a formal application was submitted in March 2011.

This tiny nation said it is keen on joining ASEAN to accelerate its economic development and get more political influence in the region.

Since then, the ten existing ASEAN members have been discussing the application.

Several ASEAN member states are supporting Timor-Leste's bid. Other member nations, however, do not want it in the regional bloc because the country's internal conflicts might cause problems.

Others say if Timor-Leste joins the bloc, it has to assure that its membership will not disturb the group's plan for an ASEAN Economic Community beginning in 2016.

During their meeting this week, Secretary Del Rosario and Minister Coelho discussed enhancing cooperation in the areas of defense, economic relations, education, health, and technical/capacity building, among others.


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Title Annotation:Metro
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9INDO
Date:Dec 18, 2015
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