LOOK: Duterte attends 35th ASEAN Summit opening with partner Honeylet

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 03 2019 12:04 PM | Updated as of Nov 03 2019 12:33 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte and partner Honeylet Avanceña attend the Opening Ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand November 3, 2019. Athit Perawongmetha, Reuters

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday attended the opening ceremony of the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Duterte, accompanied by his partner Honeylet Avanceña, joined other Southeast Asian leaders in the 35th ASEAN Summit in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

The 3-day summit came nearly two weeks after Duterte, 74, complained of back pain following a motorcycle accident.

On Saturday, Duterte urged ASEAN member states to exercise "self-restraint" in dealing with territorial issues in the disputed South China Sea and said his administration is keen to produce a binding sea code of conduct to keep the peace in the region.

China claims most of the contested sea, including waters close to Philippine shores, and has rejected a UN-backed international tribunal ruling that said its assertion to the Sea is without legal basis.

ASEAN leaders also hope to make progress on the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would comprise 16 countries that account for a third of global gross domestic product and nearly half the world's population. 

Host Thailand has been pushing for a preliminary deal by the end of the year, keen to push ahead at a time when US-China tensions threaten to slow growth in the region. --With reports from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News; Agence France-Presse