Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — It’s official.
U.S. President Donald Trump is coming to the Philippines this November, and North Korea’s nuclear threat tops the agenda in two upcoming summits.
“President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will travel to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Hawaii from November 3-14, 2017,” the White House said in a statement on Friday.
In the Philippines, Trump will attend the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings, scheduled from November 10-14 in Clark Field, Pampanga.
Trump will first attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on November 8-10 in Danang, Vietnam.
In a statement on Saturday, Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte is looking forward to welcoming Trump.
It will be the highly anticipated first meeting between the two leaders who are often compared to each other for their tough talk and controversial statements.
In a phone call in December 2016 to congratulate Trump on his win, President Duterte invited then President-elect Trump to the ASEAN Summit. Malacanang was confident Trump will push through with the trip. In April, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced Trump’s visit to the Philippines.
Leaders of the nine other ASEAN member states which include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are expected to attend the meetings in November, as well as heads of state from dialogue partners like Russia, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.
The summit is among the highlights of the country’s chairmanship of the ASEAN on its 50th anniversary.
“As host country, we hope to make the event productive and pleasant to our foreign guests. We will let them experience our world-famous Filipino hospitality to make sure they would have good memories of their stay in the Philippines,” the Palace said.
U.S. vs. North Korea
The White House said Trump’s visits to countries it considers allies and partners will highlight North Korea’s repeated threats to launch a nuclear attack.
“The President’s engagements will strengthen the international resolve to confront the North Korean threat and ensure the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the White House said.
Officials of North Korea and the U.S. have traded threats as North Korea revealed plans to launch a missile at the U.S. terrirtory of Guam, around 2,500 kilometers east of the Philippines.
During the ASEAN Foreign Minister’s Meeting in the Philippines in August, North Korea claimed it will be a responsible nuclear power, and will pose no other threats to other countries, unless they work alongside the United States.
The White House said Trump’s visits also aim to strengthen America’s economic ties with the Asian countries.
Philippines and U.S.
Malacañang said Trump’s visit underscores Philippines’ improving ties with U.S, which hit a rough patch when Duterte took office in July 2016.
He lashed out at then U.S. President Barack Obama and American legislators who criticized alleged extrajudicial killings in the country’s war on drugs.
Duterte is seen to have better relations with Trump.
On Thursday, Duterte said he’d “rather be friendly” to the Americans now.
“I would not say that they were our saviors, but they are our allies and they helped us. And even today, they have provided the crucial equipment to our soldiers in Marawi to fight the terrorists,” he said.
CNN Philippines’ Chad de Guzman and Ina Andolong contributed to this report.
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