Duterte eyes bilateral talks with 2 TO 4 world leaders
President Duterte will have time for bilateral talks only with “two to four” other world leaders during his maiden appearance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders’ Meeting in Lima, Peru, this week.
The prospect of another engagement with outgoing US President Barack Obama at the Apec Economic Leaders Meeting on Nov. 19-20 is possible but not certain, according to Senior Special Assistant Leo Lim-Herrera of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
“If they are in the same place, any meeting is possible,” he told reporters at a predeparture briefing in Malacañang.
Lim-Herrera was tight-lipped about the identities of the leaders Mr. Duterte was scheduled to meet.
Besides the arranged meetings, Lim-Herrera said there would be plenty of other opportunities for interactions between and among the leaders at the annual trade summit.
“In all the meetings of this nature, there are pull-asides and conversations if and when the President sits beside another world leader either at dinner or some of the other platforms in Apec,” he said.
Lim-Herrera said Apec would provide Mr. Duterte a bigger stage “to showcase both his mystique and agenda for the country,” and allow himself to be heard “free of biases or any slant.”
Mr. Duterte’s travel to the South American country would be his ninth foreign trip since he was sworn in as President on June 30.
He has visited Laos, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, China, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia. He also attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Vientiane, Laos, in September.
Pacific Rim economies
Apec is an economic, trade and investment forum among 21 Pacific Rim countries, including the Philippines, the United States, China and Russia. It is a yearlong series of discussions that culminate in the Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
The member-economies of Apec account for approximately 40 percent of the world’s population, an estimated 55 percent of the world’s GDP, and about 44 percent of global trade.
Established in 1989, with the Philippines as a founding member, Apec has worked to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across Asia Pacific in a bid to create efficient domestic economies and dramatically raise exports.
Last year, Apec, whose location rotates annually among its members, was hosted by Manila.
Peru via New Zealand
At the briefing, Lim-Herrera denied rumors that Mr. Duterte chose to fly to Lima through a roundabout route via New Zealand for the Apec summit to avoid having to lay over in the United States.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “It’s over technical matters, like the capacity of the plane and fuel storage,” he said when asked to explain Mr. Duterte’s choice.
Lim-Herrera said flying to the Peruvian capital via New Zealand actually made sense as both countries were in the southern hemisphere.
Most of the Filipino journalists traveling to Peru will take flights with layovers in Los Angeles or Houston.
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