Duterte to meet Suu Kyi, top Burmese officials
On his first state visit to Burma (Myanmar) next week, President Duterte will be sitting down with the country’s top government officials, including Nobel Peace Prize awardee and democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
In Burma’s capital Nay Pyi Taw, Mr. Duterte is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Burma President U Htin Kyaw, and have a separate meeting with Suu Kyi, the country’s first state counselor and female foreign minister.
He is also set to meet with Burma’s commander in chief of the Myanmar armed forces, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.
In a predeparture briefing in Malacañang on Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, said Mr. Duterte and Suu Kyi were expected to discuss “issues of mutual concern on political cooperation, on economic cooperation and capacity building.”
Asked if the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) was part of the agenda, Jose said it could not be ruled out, since “these would be leaders who would be talking and there are no set agenda items. Leaders are free to raise any question that they would like to raise.”
If the issue is raised, Jose said, “it will be in the context of reaffirming our position, especially the Asean’s position on our desire primarily for the full and effective implementation of the 2002 [declaration of conduct] and for the early conclusion of the negotiations for the [code of conduct]” on the West Philippine Sea.
“And on the part of the Philippines, I think it will be a reiteration of our commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes and for our adherence to the rule of law,” Jose said.
Joining Mr. Duterte in the Burma visit are Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Enrique Manalo, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director Gen. Isidro Lapeña, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
On top of the President’s agenda is an audience with the Filipino community there, which is scheduled to take place in the evening of his arrival on Sunday.
According to the Philippine Embassy in Burma, there are around 1,800 Filipinos in the country, mostly temporary migrants working in private companies and organizations. Filipino firms in Burma will also call on Mr. Duterte in Nay Pyi Taw.
After Burma, Mr. Duterte will be visiting Thailand.