Duterte, Trump to meet in person for first time in Vietnam

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and United States (US) President Donal Trump will meet for the first time during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Vietnam.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Leo Herrera-Lim said the chance that the two leaders would see each other was high, since there were “several engagements” at the Apec forum that will be held in Danang, Vietnam.

“So there [are] several opportunities for exchanges,” Lim told Palace reporters.

“Once you’re there in Danang, the opportunity increases. So I think, most likely, they (Duterte and Trump) will [meet]. Meaning, the US will seek out our President to even have, at best, a meeting on the sidelines of Apec,” he added.

Duterte will fly to Vietnam on November 8 for his participation in Apec summit.

Lim said the Duterte and Trump might either hold a bilateral meeting or have pull-aside meeting on the sidelines of the international gathering.

If Duterte and Trump meet, Lim said they would likely discuss two matters, including “national security, both at the country level and regional level,” as well as “their desire to grow the different engines of global economy.”

“Both countries have an interest to move our converging agendas forward. I think, the fact that it’s the first face-to-face meeting, sometimes, both parties will try to maximize the opportunity,” the Foreign Affairs official said.

Duterte and Trump had the chance to communicate twice through a phone conversation -- one in December to congratulate the then newly-elected US president, and the other in May when the two talked about the North Korea’s alarming missile tests.

But in a separate press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the two firebrand leaders would more likely have the chance to hold a bilateral dialogue during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Manila.

After his Vietnam trip, Trump will stay in the Philippines on November 12 to 14 to attend the 31st Asean Summit and Related Meeting that will be hosted by Duterte.

Roque believed that while the two may hold bilateral meeting in Vietnam, it would not be as “extensive” as the talk on the sidelines of Asean conference.

“They would have more opportunity to interact with each other here in Manila, although I’m sure they would have bilateral talks in Vietnam,” the presidential spokesman said.

Duterte to have bilateral meet with Xi, Putin in Vietnam

Meanwhile, Lim said that apart from Trump, Duterte was also expected to hold a separate bilateral meeting with two other powerful leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

XI and Putin were the two most-sought allies of Duterte.

In his speeches, Duterte has often praised the two, whom he considered as his “friends,” for extending assistance to the Philippines. (SunStar Philippines)
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