UNITED States (US) President Donald Trump has no intention to snub the East Asia Summit that will be be hosted by the Philippines on November 14, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said on Wednesday.
Cayetano issued the remark amid reports from international press that Trump was mulling to skip the East Asia Summit, an annual forum that will be attended by Southeast Asian leaders and world leaders.
The Philippines’ top diplomat said that the American leader’s visit to the Philippines on November 12 to 13 was scheduled ahead of the final decision to set East Asia Summit on November 14.
“They (Trump’s camp) were waiting the schedule because he was really supposed to be here on the 13th [of November]. It was a long trip for him. Even before going here, before Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), he had other countries to go,” Cayetano told reporters on the sidelines of the turnover rites of Russian military equipment to the Philippines.
“So not that East Asia Summit is finalized on the 14th [of November], it looks like his Secretary of State would be the one to attend,” he added.
The White House has announced that Trump would fly to Manila on November 13 for 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit, after his attendance to Apec forum in Danang, Vietnam.
On November 12, Trump would participate in the special gala celebration dinner for Asean’s 50th year.
The US leader would then attend on October 13 the US-Asean summit and hold a bilateral dialogue with President Rodrigo Duterte and other world leaders.
In a recent interview, Cayetano said Trump and Duterte would likely hold a bilateral meeting despite the Philippine president’s “complicated” schedule.
“It (bilateral talks between Duterte and Trump) is being discussed. Definitely, we want it, they want it,” he said. “There are now coordination as to where they meet and talk, whether it’s in Vietnam or here [in the Philippines].” (SunStar Philippines)