Duterte to skip Asia-Europe meet, ‘to stay close’ to Pinoys
President Rodrigo Duterte wants to “stay close to his countrymen” and has decided to skip the 11th Asia-Europe Leaders Meeting (Asem) on July 15 and 16 in Mongolia, Malacañang said.
“The President wishes to stay close to his countrymen in the first few months of his presidency,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told reporters in a text message on Thursday.
The Asia-Eurpoe summit would have been Duterte’s first international meeting as the country’s Chief Executive.
The summit is expected to tackle the South China Sea conflict and Britain’s recent exit from the European Union, among other key issues.
Asem has 53 members from the original 15 EU member states. China is a member of Asem.
In an ambush interview on Thursday, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Laos in September could be Duterte’s first foreign trip. RAM/rga
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