President Rodrigo Duterte was looking forward to a “productive dialogue” with US President Donald Trump, Malacañang said on Saturday after the American leader decided to extend his stay in the Philippines for one day to attend the East Asia Summit (EAS).
Trump will arrive in the Philippines on Nov. 12 and leave on Nov. 14. It will be the last stop of his marathon swing through Asia, which includes visits to Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.
His visit to Manila was timed for the 31st summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
“The Palace welcomes the announcement of the White House that President Donald Trump would extend his stay in the Philippines to attend the East Asia Summit,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said on government-run Radyo ng Bayan.
“The President looks forward to engaging President Trump in productive dialogue at the Asean-US Commemorative Summit and the EAS,” Andanar added.
The two leaders have spoken on the phone and they appeared to have hit it off despite the Philippine President’s earlier tirades against Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, for expressing concerns about the killings in Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs.
According to the President, Trump supported his antidrugs campaign and the US leader told him he was doing it “the right way.”
Trump and Mr. Duterte will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in Vietnam ahead of the Asean summit, but it is uncertain whether they will hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of Apec.
The administration was pulling out all the stops to welcome foreign leaders and other delegates attending the Asean meetings in Manila, as the Philippines wanted them to experience “Filipino hospitality at its finest,” Andanar said.
He said the visiting leaders would have the opportunity to socialize at a gala dinner on Nov. 12, before they plunge into a series of meetings and events related to the Asean and the EAS.
Andanar explained that in the past the leaders tended to arrive late for the gala dinner due to their hectic schedules, so this time it was scheduled ahead of their many meetings.
“That way, our leaders would still be fresh because they would have just arrived in the Philippines at that time, and our senior ministers have been prepared days prior to that,” he said.
A total of 21 heads of state and government are expected to take part in the various Asean and EAS meetings.
Aside from Trump and the 10 Asean leaders, those expected to come to the country include Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and European Council President Donald Tusk.