Duterte may hold 2-4 bilateral talks at APEC summit

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 14 2016 03:01 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte. Ace Morandante Malacanang Photo

MANILA - President Duterte may hold "around two to four" bilateral meetings with economic leaders on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in Lima, Peru this week, a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official said Monday.

DFA Special Assistant Leo Herrera Lim of the DFA Office for International Economic Relations said the leaders' summit will give Duterte an opportunity to articulate his policies and agenda on a bigger stage.

"For the administration of President Duterte, APEC is key… First, it's a bigger showcase for the President to showcase both his mystique and agenda for the country and many of the other economic leaders would want to understand the President's ideology, mission and even programs from his own words, free of any biases, or any slant and this is an important opportunity for other economic leaders to listen from the President himself this advocacy that relate to many of the agendas of APEC," Lim said.

Lim, however, declined to disclose which leaders Duterte may meet with and if the list includes a one-on-one with US President Barack Obama.
"If they are in the same place, every meeting is possible. But in the foreign policy sphere, usually meetings [have] to be pretty much structured in terms of the topics and the response," he said.

"Right now, we are ready for any short-term request for a meeting from either side or arrangements but I cannot confirm or deny that that would be possible."
Duterte's APEC schedule begins on November 19 when he joins a leaders' dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) with the special participation of heads of state from Argentina and Colombia and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

He will also join a general dialogue between 21 leaders and 63 ABAC CEOs; a break-out session with the leaders of Japan, Singapore, and Mexico and ABAC CEOs; an informal dialogue of the APEC-Pacific Alliance consisting of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru; an informal dialogue of APEC with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg; and a gala dinner hosted by the Peruvian President.
On November 20, Duterte will join the informal dialogue of APEC with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, two Leaders Retreat where can freely speak on themes "Challenges to Free Trade and Investment in the Current Global Context," "Food Security, Climate Change Adaptation and Access to Water," and "Integrating the Asia Pacific: Towards a Real and Functional Connectivity in the Region."

He leaves on the night of November 20 to New Zealand for a "technical stop" of the plane.