US President Donald Trump will extend his stay in the Philippines by a day and attend the East Asia Summit after all.
“We’re actually staying an extra day in the Philippines,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday. “We have a big conference, a second conference and I think we’re gonna have great success. We’ll be talking about trade. We’ll be talking about, obviously, North Korea.”
The White House earlier announced that Trump would visit to Manila on November 12 to 13 to participate in the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) meetings to be hosted by President Rodrigo Duterte, chairman of the regional bloc this year.
This meant that the Republican real estate mogul would be able to attend the special gala celebration of the 50th anniversary of Asean and the Asean-US meeting, but not the East Asia Summit on November 14 in Pampanga.
The East Asia Summit is composed of the 10 Asean countries Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; and dialogue partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, US and Russia.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Saturday welcomed Trump’s decision to spend an extra day in the Philippines.
“The Palace welcomes the announcement of the White House that President Donald Trump would extend his stay in the Philippines to attend the East Asia Summit,” Andanar said in an interview with government-run dzRB radio.
He said President Rodrigo Duterte was looking forward to having a “productive” dialogue with Trump.
“The Philippines, as host, chair of 31st Asean summit and related meetings, is set to welcome all foreign leaders and delegates and to ensure that they would experience Filipino hospitality at its finest,” Andanar added.
In a statement on Friday, the White House said Trump would attend the East Asia Summit and hold bilateral dialogue with several foreign leaders, including Duterte.
“President Trump will conclude his trip in the Philippines, where he will hold bilateral meetings with President Rodrigo Duterte, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, and attend the US-Asean Summit and East Asia Summit,” it said.
On October 29, Duterte said he would raise the Philippines’ concern over North Korea’s ballistic missile tests in his meeting with Trump.
“I would deal with President Trump in the most righteous way, welcome him as an important leader, as a matter of fact, the important leader, on this side of the planet,” the President said.
“The main or the opening agenda [of my talk with Trump]would really be Korea. We are worried, all of us, that you know, Murphy’s Law [said], ‘If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.’ So that has always been a problem for us,” he said.