United States President Donald Trump has reportedly indicated that he would come to the Philippines for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in November, a diplomat said on Wednesday, April 19.
According to Malacañang’s chief protocol officer Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Trump made the confirmation during his earlier phone call with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last year.
“As of now, President Trump, for instance, when President Duterte called him up to congratulate him had already indicated that he was coming in November,” Paynor said.
Paynor is also the director-general for operations of the ASEAN 2017 National Organizing Council.
“So at least verbally he said he was coming,” he added.
During a telephone call in December 2016, Trump reportedly invited Duterte to visit the White House this year. In response to the White House invitation, the Philippine president also invited Trump to attend the 2017 ASEAN Summit, which will be hosted by the Philippines.
For his part, Duterte, however, said he was not sure whether Trump would visit the Philippines.
“Si Trump, I don’t know. But he seems to be very busy,” he said, adding, “If he’s coming, it would be good for the country, for all of us.”
The 31st ASEAN Summit will be held from November 10-14 in Clark Field, Pampanga.
According to Paynor, organizers expect complete attendance from ASEAN member states at the upcoming summit — which include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
He said other country leaders from dialogue partners like Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, and South Korea are also expected to attend.
“Multilateral meetings of this sort, we usually expect 100 percent attendance. And many of the leaders who do not attend do so because they have internal issues and—which prevents them from coming,” Paynor said.
He further added, “So there will be one or two who may not be able to come but this is because of, let’s say, internal issues with their individual countries.”