President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will fly to Singapore to attend the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit from November 13 to15, 2018 upon the invitation of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
In the pre-departure briefing of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary and Director General of ASEAN-Philippine National Secretariat Junever Mahilum-West, she said the Chief Executive will have a “very busy schedule.”
Apart from the ASEAN Summit, the leaders will have summits with dialogue partners from Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States in ‘Plus One Summit’ format.
The ASEAN leaders will also have discussions with China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea through ‘ASEAN Plus Three Summit.’ Furthermore, ‘East Asia Summit’ is also scheduled and there will be exchanges among leaders of Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States.
Also, the leaders will hold the second summit on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to look into the progress in the negotiations of this document.
According to the envoy, President Duterte will participate in issues where the Philippines has interests such as infrastructure development due to the Build, Build, Build Program, small and medium enterprises, economic integration, cooperation, community, and connectivity.
Key issues will also be touched like the Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea, global economy, and challenges to economic integration.
Non-traditional issues like countering terrorism, violent extremism, combatting illicit drugs, trafficking in persons, disaster management, women and youth development, climate change, people-to-people exchanges, and the rights of migrant workers will be the areas of concern for the Philippines.
“We would expect an outcome document on the rights of migrant workers as well which has been shepherded by the Philippines since the beginning,” said Asec. Mahilum-West.
The ASEAN Summit will be an opportunity for leaders to see the progress of the implementation of the ASEAN Community blueprints and the work in moving community building forward as well as bringing ASEAN closer to the realization of a rules-based, people-oriented, and people-centered ASEAN Community.
On the other hand, the related summits will be an opportunity for President Duterte and other ASEAN leaders to “look into the progress of ASEAN’s relations with the dialogue partners and the deepening cooperation with them on a number of priority areas,” said the envoy.
Regarding bilateral meetings with other leaders that President Duterte might be having in Singapore, the envoy noted that “arrangements are still being made, but there are roughly four to five meetings lining up.”
In the same event, Singapore will symbolically hand over the chairmanship to Thailand for the ASEAN Summit 2019. PND