LIMA, Peru: President Rodrigo Duterte skipped the gala dinner for 21 leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum here on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), because he was “not feeling well,” a Palace official said.
In a text message, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar replied “Masama ang pakiramdam,” when asked why the President skipped the dinner.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. attended the dinner on behalf of the President.
The dinner, hosted by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, was scheduled at 7:15 p.m. Peru time at the Parque de la Reserva.
Andanar said Kuczynski was told beforehand that Duterte would not be able to make it to the dinner.
The two leaders had a prolonged conversation earlier in the day during the official welcome ceremony for arriving heads of state, just before the opening of the annual gathering of Pacific rim economies.
In the morning, Duterte had bilateral talks with China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Duterte arrived in Lima on Thursday to attend the APEC for the first time since being elected President.
His official delegation consists of Yasay, Andanar, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
Duterte, who turned 71 last March, earlier said he was thinking of skipping the APEC leaders’ meeting because “it’s a long way across the globe.” Lima is 13 hours behind Manila.
So far, the President has made nine trips abroad since assuming office on June 30.
Duterte has visited Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, China, Thailand and Malaysia.