Duterte skipping 11th Asia-Europe summit
President Duterte is skipping the 11th Asia-Europe Leaders Meeting (Asem) on July 15 and 16 in Mongolia that will tackle the South China Sea row and other key issues, officials have said.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. has said he would attend the Asem summit to represent the President. He did not cite any reason why Duterte decided to skip it.
It would have been Duterte’s first international meeting as the country’s new leader.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has recommended to Duterte to attend the forum of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and European Union (EU) as well as Japan, China and South Korea.
“The meeting of leaders is always interesting because you can do your reading of what their [other leaders] priorities are,” said Laura del Rosario, former DFA undersecretary for economic relations.
Asem was a “very important occasion” for the President, she added.
The summit is expected to tackle the South China Sea conflict and Britain’s recent exit from EU, among other key issues.
It serves as an open forum for policy makers and officials to tackle political, economic and sociocultural issues of common interest.
From the original 15 EU member-states, seven Asean-member states, plus China, Japan, Korea and the European Commission in 1996, Asem has grown to 53 members.
The DFA always recommends that presidents attend leaders’ meetings, according to Del Rosario.
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