US VP Pence: Trump coming to PH for Asean in November

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2017 08:25 PM | Updated as of Apr 20 2017 09:47 PM

The much anticipated meeting between oft-compared President Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Donald Trump may finally happen in November, when the American leader comes to the Philippines. 

In a tweet Thursday, United States Vice President Mike Pence confirmed that Trump will attend the US-Asean Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and the East Asia Summit, both to be held in the Philippines in November.

It would be Trump's first trip to the Philippines as US President, and likely the first meeting with Duterte. The two leaders have often been compared for their brash language and in-your-face leadership style.

Pence also confirmed the US leader's attendance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' meeting set in the same month in Da Nang, Vietnam. 

Pence bared Trump's upcoming Southeast Asia visits while visiting Jakarta, a trip seen to highlight US support for Southeast Asia and Indonesia's moderate practice of Islam amid concerns over growing Islamophobia among Americans. 

Former US president Barack Obama, who had championed a "pivot to Asia," was a frequent visitor to the Asia-Pacific as he sought to refocus US foreign policy on the region to counter growing Chinese influence.

Trump's decision to attend the meetings could come as a surprise to some, given his fiery "America first" rhetoric and his decision to abandon a Pacific trade pact which was the economic plank of the pivot. 

The president's attendance at the meetings was "a sign, I hope to all, of our firm and unwavering commitment to build on the strong foundations that we already share", Pence said during a visit to Indonesia.

— With reports from Reuters, Agence France-Presse