Duterte defends frequent trips as preparation for Asean summit
President Rodrigo Duterte defended on Saturday his overseas trips in the first six months of his term, explaining that it had been necessary for him to visit the country’s neighbors because the Philippines would be hosting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit next year.
Duterte said he had to meet with the leaders of the Asean members to ask for their position on various issues in preparation for the next gathering of the regional bloc.
“I will be the one to prepare the agenda. I need to meet with them one on one to ask what they want, so that things would go smoothly later,” he said in a speech at the birthday party of Sen. Manny Pacquiao in General Santos City.
He said he was not enjoying all the traveling, but the Department of Foreign Affairs reminded him that the country would host the Asean summit in 2017.
“I hate to travel,” he said. “It’s very tiring, to tell you the truth.”
Among the Asean members, Myanmar is the only country that Duterte has not visited.
He recently returned from state visits to Cambodia and Singapore. Before that, he had also gone on trips to Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei.
Outside the Asean, he has flown to Peru for an economic summit, to China for a state visit, and to Japan for an official visit. He also made a quick stop in New Zealand on his way home from Peru. /ATM
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