MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday joined other world leaders in the 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit as the conference went online in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Philippine leader is expected to raise the South China Sea maritime dispute and issues concerning the welfare of overseas Filipino workers in the summit.
"Lahat ng mga important positions of national interest to the Philippines ay kanyang ina-advance, kasama na dito ang nangyayari sa South China Sea and migrant workers affairs," Presidential assistant on foreign affairs Robert Borje said Thursday.
(He will advance all important positions of national interest including the South China Sea dispute and migrant workers affairs.)
"The President will remain actively engaged with his counterparts to advance the Philippines national interest in ASEAN and beyond," he added.
Friday's event is the first regular ASEAN Summit to be held online following a special virtual conference last April where leaders discussed the region's response to the pandemic.
This year's summit is chaired by Vietnam and is expected to adopt 10 outcome documents on key areas of cooperation such as food security and supply chain connectivity in terms of pandemic response, countering radicalization and violent extremism.
"Their discussions will build on the agreements adopted during the Special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 held last April, seeking ways to facilitate the ASEAN region's transition to the 'new normal' and post-pandemic recovery," Malacañang said in a statement.
During the April summit, Duterte said all countries should be given fair and easy access to potential coronavirus treatments and vaccines.