Manila, Philippines, 28 Dzulqa’dah 1437/31 August 2016 (MINA)– If everything goes as planned, President Duterte will be meeting with at least five heads of state, including US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos next week.
Duterte is also expected to meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his counterparts Narendra Modi of India and Shinzo Abe of Japan, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. told The STAR during the Japan-ASEAN Media Forum in Mandaluyong last Monday.
Reports yesterday quoted White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes as saying that the meeting between Duterte and Obama would be held on Sept. 6.
Rhodes said Obama is expected to raise human rights and security issues, including the South China Sea dispute, during the meeting.
Putin had skipped last year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila.
Duterte had earlier told the ambassadors of Australia and the United States to shut up after they criticized his remarks on the rape of an Australian women held hostage and then killed in a Davao prison riot when he was the city mayor.
China, Indonesia visits
But at the House appropriations committee hearing yesterday, Yasay said China and Indonesia are the first countries that Duterte intends to visit as head of state.
He told the committee chaired by Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles that the Jakarta trip would take place after the ASEAN summit in Laos next month.
He said there is no date yet for the Beijing visit but it would signal the start of formal bilateral talks on rekindling ties affected by the arbitral ruling.
However, before the start of formal talks, the Philippines would want Beijing to allow Filipinos to fish in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, also called Bajo de Masinloc.
“Under the arbitral court ruling, Scarborough Shoal is the traditional fishing ground of Filipinos as well as the Chinese and Vietnamese. Before the bilateral talks, we want to have a provisional agreement that would allow our citizens to fish in this area,” he said. (T/R07/R01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)