President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will fly to Thailand this week to join other heads of states and other stakeholders in the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits from November 2 to 4, the foreign affairs department announced on Monday.
In a pre-departure briefing in Malacañang, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for the Office of ASEAN Affairs Junever Mahilum-West said the 35th ASEAN Summit Plenary would start November 2 while the opening ceremony would be held on November 3, Sunday.
After the opening rites, President Duterte will join other leaders in the ASEAN-China Summit, and then the ASEAN-India Summit. In the afternoon, he will participate in the ASEAN-United Nations Summit and then the Gala Dinner in the evening.
The ASEAN Plus Three Summit that includes 10 member states of ASEAN plus China, Japan, and Korea will be held November 4, Monday, according to Mahilum-West. It will be followed by the ASEAN-US Summit.
The 14th East Asia Summit will also be held Monday, to be followed by the ASEAN-Japan Summit and then the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Summit or RCEP.
There are other major side events during the summit: the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, the Mekong-Japan Summit Working Dinner, and the Indo-Pacific Business Forum, Mahilum-West said.
During the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the East Asia Summit, the leaders are expected to share their views regarding regional and international issues affecting the region.
President Duterte will also discuss the current direction of the country’s partnerships and cooperation on mutual concerns with China, India, the United Nations, the United States, and Japan during the ASEAN one-on-one summits.
Mahilum-West said there are about 40 anticipated outcome documents at the end of the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, which represent the culmination of the ASEAN Community’s work in pursuit of a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable ASEAN Community.
At the same time, President Duterte, who has vigorously pushed for the adoption of a binding code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, is expected to express his views on the matter during his attendance to the summit in Thailand.
The COC will be featured in the discussions, Mahilum-West said, describing the issue as “unavoidable.” The discussion on the COC falls within the ASEAN’s three pillars of cooperation: political security, economic, and socio-cultural.
“Kasi doon sa meeting na ‘yun ng mga leaders, they will have a parang tour of the horizon of what’s happening throughout the region,” she said, adding other countries are also expected to give their views.
“But as to intensive negotiations, we don’t expect that will happen in this meeting— in these kinds of meetings.”
Those who will join the President during the summit include Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, and Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista.
This year’s summit theme is “Partnership for Sustainability.” PND