Locsin to represent PH at US-Asean summit

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Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. will represent Manila in a leaders’ summit between the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) next week, Philippine Ambassador to US Jose Manuel Romualdez confirmed.

The envoy said the top diplomat would attend on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, who opted not to attend as the summit falls on a date when the country would have already named its president-elect.

“It is unfortunate that the summit is scheduled for May 12 shortly after our elections, that is why I totally understand why President Duterte cannot attend it. As the President pointed out, we will definitely have a president-elect by then, so he was being prudent, opting not to attend out of delicadeza, and avoid making decisions or commitments at the summit that might not be aligned with the policies of our next president,” Romualdez wrote in a Labor Day column on Philstar.

“Secretary Teddy Locsin will represent the President,” he added.

The envoy said Manila’s participation in this special summit is important because the discussions are expected to center on a wide range of areas of mutual interest and concern.

Among them are defense and security, future pandemic response, climate change, maritime cooperation, economic engagement, energy, digital technology and strengthening people-to-people ties, among others.

The special summit, hosted by US President Joe Biden, will run from May 12 and 13 in Washington, DC.

According to the State Department, the meeting would demonstrate the United States’ commitment to serving as a “strong, reliable partner” in Southeast Asia and advancing an Indo-Pacific that is free and open, secure, connected, and resilient.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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