Tillerson to meet ASEAN counterparts

Frederick Owens
April 21, 2017

"When I spoke to President Trump this morning, he gave me the great privilege to inform the secretary-general and the permanent [representatives] of ASEAN that the US president will attend the US-ASEAN Summit, the East Asia Summit and the APEC Leaders Meeting in Vietnam and the Philippines this November", Pence said.

The series of activities for the ASEAN Summit involve a total of 137 meetings, two summits, 17 ministerial meetings, 42 senior officials' meetings and 76 meetings of technical working groups. "If he is coming it would be good for the country, for all of us", the President told reporters in Bohol.

Mr. Paynor in his briefing said ASEAN leaders have requested for bilateral talks with Mr. Duterte during the meetings in Manila next week, but because of his "tight" schedule, Mr. Duterte can only accommodate "informal" talks.

He also stressed the need for "fundamental freedom of navigation", and said he and President Donald Trump want to expand economic ties with Indonesia. "As you, President Widodo have said so often, we're looking for a win-win relationship and we're confident that we can find it on an increasing basis", Pence said.

The 10 leaders will also meet at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and will have a retreat at the Coconut Palace. "At least verbally, he said he is coming", according to Rappler.

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Amb. Paynor added, "Now that he is hosting, he did say, 'Oh, hindi lang pala ganoon kadali.' [ Oh, it's was really that easy.] So, we are running him through what he needs to do from 10 - in fact, from 9:30 in the morning all the way up to the finish the following day in Davao".

"It will be his first visit to Korea as the president of the Philippines, after visiting the country twice before as mayor of Davao".

But Mr. Bolivar on Wednesday said: "We can not announce that yet".

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said all foreign delegates to the meeting, which would focus on a free trade agreement between ASEAN and Hong Kong, have confirmed their attendance.

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