LIMA, Peru: President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday (Friday in Manila) arrived here for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, where he is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Duterte’s plane landed shortly before midnight at Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez, where he was welcomed by Peruvian Minister of Culture Jorge Nieto and Peruvian Ambassador to Manila Julio Cardenas Velarde.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said Duterte would hold bilateral talks with Putin and Xi on Saturday.
On Thursday before leaving for Peru, Duterte said he was willing to join a “new world order” if China and Russia would take the lead. He also threatened to follow Russia’s lead in withdrawing from the Rome Statute that formed the International Criminal Court, amid criticisms of his bloody anti-drug campaign.
The United States did not request a bilateral meeting between outgoing US President Barack Obama and Duterte, and neither did the Philippine side.
“I’m sure there will be an opportunity for them to see each other during these meetings,” Yasay said.
Duterte and Obama were initially scheduled to hold bilateral meetings at the sidelines of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations summits in Vientiane, Laos last September.
The meeting between the two leaders, however, was called off by the White House after Duterte spewed profanities against the US and Obama.
Yasay also said Peru, the host country of this year’s APEC summit, and other nations had also sought bilateral talks with Duterte.
It will be Duterte’s first time to attend the annual meeting of 21 heads of Pacific rim economies, whose aim is to foster free trade in the Asia-Pacific.
This year’s summit is expected to be overshadowed by worries over the protectionist policies of US President-elect Donald Trump.
The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) warned against increasing protectionism in the region, saying it was not the solution to the economic problems of member-countries.
The council will present recommendations to the APEC leaders at their scheduled summit on Saturday.
“Protectionist actions make it harder for business to play its part in creating employment and raising living standards across the region,” said ABAC President Juan Raffo.
Raffo cited the United Kingdom’s impending separation from the European Union known as Brexit, and the election of Trump, which, according to him, have “created an unprecedented uncertainty” about the direction of the global economy and the future of economic integration.
“Brexit and recent election results in both developed and developing economies seem to have served as a referendum on the merits of economic integration. They appear to call into question the successful model of economic integration that has been responsible for rapid growth and the spread of prosperity around the world,” he said.
“Regional economic integration can be made to work better and its benefits more obvious. If governments adopt policies which enhance the capacity of economies, their communities and people will be better able to take advantage of more open and competitive markets,” he added.
Raffo said APEC member-countries needed “to do more to help convince our citizens that economic integration is directly linked to expanding prosperity and that open markets – enhanced by new technologies and ways of doing business – have lifted millions out of poverty.”