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Duterte, Trump to meet in Vietnam for the first time

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and US President Donald Trump AP

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet with United States President Donald Trump for the first time during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in Vietnam this week.

Duterte is scheduled to fly to Vietnam on Wednesday to attend the summit, which started November 6.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Leo Herrera Lim said Duterte and Trump would first meet at the welcome dinner on November 8.
 

“Well, there are several opportunities both at the Welcome Dinner on the 8th, and then there will also be several engagements including Gala Dinner and the meeting itself under the APEC and the meeting between APEC and ASEAN that will happen in Vietnam,” Lim said in a Palace briefing.

Lim said Duterte and Trump would discuss, among others, matters on security threat and economy, if in case they would have a bilateral meeting at the sidelines of Apec.

“If you see pretty much a convergence between the two Presidents would be: one, on national security, both at the country level and at the regional level; and then number two, the desire to grow the different engines of global economy ‘no. So that, at least, there will be a bigger participation of the population in the benefits of a free, open trading system,” he said.

Duterte and Trump’s meeting would come weeks after the Philippine leader said he was now on friendlier terms with the US, saying they have “redeemed themselves a lot.”

To date, the two leaders had at least two phone conversations – first in December 2016 and the second was last April.

The US had earned the ire of Duterte, accusing our longtime ally of hypocrisy and bullying over its criticisms on his vicious campaign against illegal drugs.

After his attendance to the Apec, Trump is scheduled to visit the Philippines on November 12 to 14 for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Manila.

Lim said the Philippine government was also arranging bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Xi and Putin would skip the Asean Summit in Manila. Lim said it is for these reasons that the Philippines is considering to push for Mr. Duterte’s meeting with the two leaders in Vietnam.

Lim also said a bilateral meeting between Duterte and Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang or Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is likely to happen since Vietnam is the host of the 2017 Apec Summit.            /kga

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