Duterte skips 3rd RCEP Summit, 35th Asean Summit closing
NONTHABURI, Thailand — President Rodrigo Duterte skipped the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit and the closing ceremony of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez represented the President during the RCEP meeting where 16 countries discussed the negotiations of one of the largest trade deals in the world.
The President also did not attend last year’s RCEP Summit in Singapore.
RCEP is a mega trade deal among the 10-member states of Asean and its six trading partner countries — namely, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
Duterte also skipped the closing ceremony of this year’s Asean Summit and the handing over of chairmanship from Thailand to Vietnam.
The President was represented by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
The President left Thailand at around 7 p.m., according to Locsin’s Twitter post.
“If he didn’t catch the plane’s takeoff at 7 p.m. he’d be stuck. He left at 6 p.m. after ASEAN-Japan Summit, bilats with Japan, 3 hours of East Asia Summit — since he spoke first, he stayed til last spoke as a courtesy. Others stepped out,” Locsin said.
As of this writing, the Palace has not issued a statement about the President’s change of schedule and departure for Manila.
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