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PH reiterates support for full ASEAN membership for Timor Leste

The Philippine government reiterated on Friday its support for Timor Leste becoming a full member of ASEAN (ASEAN).

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Reiteration was made during a meeting between Enrique Manalo, the secretary of foreign affairs, and Adaljiza A.X.R. Magno, the foreign minister of Timor Leste, outside of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ (AMM) Retreat in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In a tweet, Manalo wrote, “[I] met Timor Leste FM (Magno) on the fringes of the AMM Retreat in Jakarta to explore how we may advance our bilateral connections & chances for cooperation under the ASEAN framework in Timor Leste’s current status as an observer.”

He continued, “I also reaffirmed (the Philippines’) support for Timor Leste’s eventual admittance as a full member of ASEAN.

The youthful country was awarded observer status by the ASEAN last year, enabling it to take part in all of its meetings, including summit plenaries.

The ASEAN leaders declared in November 2022 that they had “in principle” decided to accept Timor-Leste as the group’s eleventh member.

Timor Leste’s admission required some time, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), because joining ASEAN is a “complicated problem” that must take into account considerations including a country’s ability to take on ASEAN’s rotating chairmanship.

In a recent news conference, DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza stated: “So there are logistical, personnel, and budgetary elements that have to be taken into consideration when one becomes a member of ASEAN.”

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