Regional leaders, officials to gather for 30th ASEAN Summit

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 26) — Heads of state and government as well as other key officials from across the region are gathering in Manila for the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings from April 26 to 28.

The leaders of Brunei and Malaysia are arriving on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The heads of the other member states — Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam — are arriving Friday afternoon.

The heads of all ASEAN member states are participating in the summit, except for Myanmar, which will be represented by State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The first of the meetings is among the members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, presided by Ambassador Elizabeth Buensuceso representing the Philippines.

This will be followed by the Senior Officials' Meeting on Thursday and the Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Friday. Most meetings are taking place at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

The summit itself is set to take place on Saturday. There are a total of 138 ASEAN-related meetings scheduled this year, two-thirds of which are held in Manila.

The Philippines is the chair of ASEAN this year, coinciding with the organization's 50th anniversary.

Related: Preparations all set for ASEAN 2017

Maritime cooperation is one of the top concerns for this year's summit, due to tension in the South China Sea among certain ASEAN countries and China as claimants.

The states are ironing out the framework for a code of conduct that aims to facilitate a diplomatic resolution. Officials are hoping to finish the framework by June.

A draft of the chairman's statement obtained by the media urged member states to observe international law and legal processes. It did not explicitly mention the ruling by the arbitral tribunal in The Hague, which ruled that China had no territorial rights over the area.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said the statement could still change during the summit on Saturday.

State visits

Brunei and Indonesia are expected to hold state visits and bilateral talks with the Philippines on April 27 and 28 respectively.

Related: Indonesia, Brunei to hold state visits in PH

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia will likely discuss agriculture, crossborder traffic and control, and security of sea lanes, ASEAN 2017 Director-General for Operations Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr. earlier said.

ASEAN's other thematic priorities this year include: a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN, inclusive and innovation-led growth, peace and stability in the region, resiliency, and ASEAN being a model of regionalism and global player.

The 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings will be held in November 10 to 14 in Clark Field, Pampanga.

Apart from ASEAN members, world leaders from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States are also expected to attend.

CNN Philippines Correspondents Claire Jiao and JC Gotinga contributed to this report.