Indonesian VP Kalla, trade minister now in Manila for Apec
Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla and trade minister Thomas Trikasih Lembong have arrived in the Philippines to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in the place of President Joko Widodo.
Kalla and Lembong arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 at 7:40 p.m.
Kalla is currently serving his second term as vice president. His first term started in 2004 in the administration of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
He was once tagged in corruption allegations when he was trade minister. He also ran for president in 2009 but only placed third in the said elections.
Meanwhile, Harvard-educated Lembong first dabbled in the private sector before being tapped by Widodo as Indonesia’s trade minister. Lembong is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Quvat Management Pte Ltd. and was previously an investment banker.
The decision of Widodo to skip the Apec summit was only made known to the public last Nov. 12, which coincided with the start of the Apec Economic Leaders’ Week in Manila.
In an earlier statement, foreign affairs undersecretary Laura del Rosario said that Widodo might have decided to sit out the high-level meeting with leaders from 21 member economies to attend to “domestic issues.”
“He [Widodo] is coming from the G-20 meeting in Turkey. Then, he has to attend the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit in Kuala Lumpur,” Del Rosario said.
“Somehow, I think he decided to get that period in between to go home to address some domestic issues,” she said.
The G-20 Summit was held on Nov. 15 to 16 in Turkey.
A report from The Jakarta Post said that Widodo will attend the Asean summit in Malaysia on Nov. 20 to 22.CDG
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