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Philippines' Duterte says Turkey, Mongolia could join ASEAN

AFP  |  Davao (Philippines) 

Controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said today he would push for the inclusion of Turkey and Mongolia in a grouping of Southeast Asian nations, dismissing concerns about their geographic location.

Duterte said leaders of Turkey and Mongolia told him about their desire to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) while they were in over the weekend for a summit on a global trade infrastructure project.


Duterte, whose nation holds the rotating chairmanship this year, held separate meetings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat on the sidelines of the summit.

"They want to join and since I am now the chair, the is, they wanted me to sponsor their entry and I said, 'Yes, why not,'" Duterte told reporters in the

The 10-member groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

A member bordering the Middle East, Turkey straddles Europe and Asia. It's application for membership of the European Union has been bogged down for years.

Mongolia is a landlocked nation wedged between and Russia.

Geographic location is the first criterion for membership, along with recognition by all other members.

Duterte said Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who also attended the summit in China, asked him if he had considered geography in deciding to sponsor Turkey and Mongolia's membership.

However Duterte insisted that the two nations were part of the region.

"They are. I would say that they are," Duterte said.

"Turkey seems to be ambivalent on whether to be a bridge of Europe and Asia or being an Asian ... Sometimes they say they are part of Asia. Sometimes they say they are a bridge of Asia to Europe."

There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the Secretariat, which is based in Indonesia.

Countries within the region like East Timor and Papua New Guinea have for years sought membership but only hold observer status.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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