Duterte, Trump to meet for first time at APEC conference in Vietnam

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and US President Donald Trump will meet for the first time this week in Vietnam, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.

The two leaders are expected to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting from November 8 to 10, along with 20 other state leaders.

In a press conference in Malacañang, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Leo Herrera-Lim said there were a number of venues for the two leaders to meet, including the welcome dinner and the gala dinner for state leaders.

“There are several opportunities both at the welcome dinner on the 8th and then there will also be several engagements, including the gala dinner and the meetings itself,” Lim told reporters.

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Duterte will be in Vietnam for the international gathering from November 8 to 11.

The DFA official said it was possible for Duterte and Trump to hold a bilateral meeting then.

He said the two leaders were likely to discuss security threats and the economy during their meeting.

“There’s several opportunities for exchanges. Pretty much a convergence between the two presidents would be one, national security both at the country level and at the regional level and then number two, the desire to grow the different engines of global economy,” Lim said.

After APEC, Trump is scheduled to visit the Philippines on November 12 to 14 for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Manila.

Aside from Trump, Lim said the DFA was also arranging other bilateral meetings for the Philippine President, including meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Duterte is also likely to have a bilateral meeting with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang or Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc since Vietnam was the host of the APEC Summit.

Lim stressed the importance of APEC to the Philippines as a regional economic bloc, saying that nine out of the country’s top 10 trading partners were APEC countries.

He added the Philippines’ priorities in the APEC meetings would include pushing for the full participation of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the global economy, sustainable and inclusive growth, connectivity, and human resource development.

“During the past year the Duterte administration has made inclusive growth and pro-poor agenda, so the hallmarks of its development plan; and this ties into bringing MSMEs into the global value chain,” Lim said.

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