By: Genalyn D. Kabiling
After recent exchanges of mutual respect and admiration over the phone, President Duterte is expected to meet US President Donald Trump for the first time during a regional summit in Vietnam this week.
The two popular firebrand leaders are among the 21 world leaders slated to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the city of Da Nang. Duterte is expected to travel to Vietnam tomorrow.
According to Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Leo Herrera-Lim, Duterte and Trump may discuss strengthening economic and security alliance if their talks on the sidelines of the APEC assembly will push through.
“There’re several opportunities for exchanges,” Lim said during a Palace press briefing, citing the possible Duterte-Trump encounter during the flurry of APEC meetings and dinners this week.
“Once you’re there in Da Nang, the opportunity increases so I think most likely they will – meaning, they, the US will seek out our President to even have a – at best a meeting on the sidelines of APEC,” he said.
He noted that of the newly elected world leaders, Duterte “continues to get attraction in the international fora.”
Lim acknowledged there was “higher than 50 percent chance” that Duterte and Trump would have a bilateral meeting or a pull-aside meeting on the APEC sidelines.
“If you see, pretty much a convergence between the two Presidents would be: One, on national security, both at the country level and at the regional level,” he said on the possible topic of conversation between Duterte and Trump.
“And then No. 2, the desire to grow the different engines of global economy ‘no. So that, at least, there will be a bigger participation of the population in the benefits of a free, open trading system,” he added.