MANILA - United States President Donald Trump will miss a key conference in the Philippines when he visits for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings this November, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Wednesday.
Cayetano said Trump will be in the Philippines on Nov. 12 and 13 to attend the ASEAN Summit but will miss the East Asia Summit, which will be held in Pampanga on Nov. 14.
The East Asia Summit gathers all ten ASEAN member states and their dialogue partners in the region, namely the US, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea.
“They were waiting for the schedule because he was supposed to be here until the 13th (of November) because it is a long trip for him… Now that it has been finalized that the East Asia Summit is on the 14th, his Secretary of State will be the one to attend,” Cayetano told reporters.
“It would have been great if Trump could attend all the activities, but the reality is any world leader, especially of the US, cannot spend too [many] days outside the US. The sign that he is coming, he is staying for two days…is a very strong message of friendship and cooperation.”
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said based on the schedule provided by the US, Trump will be in Manila for the Special Gala Celebration of the ASEAN's 50th anniversary on Nov. 12 and the ASEAN-US Summit on Nov. 13.
Meanwhile, Cayetano said Trump and Duterte are expected to hold a bilateral meeting during the US leader’s visit here. It would be the first time for the two leaders to meet.
The foreign affairs chief said the two leaders are expected to talk about trade and security, among other issues of common concern.
Cayetano said Manila and Washington have been working on the bilateral meeting but the schedule has yet to be ironed out.
The Philippines is among Trump's stops during his 12-day swing across Asia, where he is set to visit Japan, South Korea, China, and Vietnam.