World leaders have arrived in the Philippines for the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related meetings.
Under the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”, the leaders will exchange views on a number of regional, international issues. Among them is North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, announcement on the official commencement of negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
ASEAN officials are also expected to discuss the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and also sign the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
The three-day 31st ASEAN Summit meetings, being chaired by the Philippines President Duterte, will culminate Tuesday with Singapore taking over chairmanship of the regional bloc and leading ASEAN in 2018.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore will deliver brief remarks at the closing ceremony. He said a digital economy and e-commerce will be key themes of the country’s chairmanship. As part of the ASEAN Plus Three Summit, U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to hold bilateral talks with President Duterte on November 13.
Duterte told newsmen he was certain that Mr Trump will not raise the issue of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines when they meet on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings in Manila.
“Words of encouragement, not extrajudicial killing. Well, he cannot afford it. We do not talk about this thing because first of all, they are not true; and the second, we do not do it,” Rappler quoted Duterte as saying.
Duterte met Trump for the first time on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam on Saturday, November 11. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the two had a “short, warm, and cordial” meeting. Duterte and Trump’s bilateral dialogue did not push through in Vietnam.
The two will have their first official meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN forum in the Philippines on November 11 to 14.—Agencies