MANILA -- The White House has confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Donald Trump will be having a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related meetings in November.
"On November 13, the President will celebrate the 40th anniversary of US-ASEAN relations at the US-ASEAN Summit and also participate in bilateral meetings with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and other leaders," a senior administration official said in a background briefing in Washington.
Washington reaffirmed that Trump's participation in ASEAN events will advance US leadership in promoting an Indo-Pacific trade and security architecture based on freedom, openness, and adherence to rule of law.
The same official disclosed that President Trump is "looking forward" to meet President Duterte following their series of phone calls and exchange of letters, which created "warm rapport" between the two.
"President Duterte, he's spoken with, they've had exchanges of letters. I think there's a warm rapport there, and he's very much looking forward to his first in-person meeting with President Duterte," said the official in a transcript sent by the US Embassy in Manila on Wednesday.
"The amount of cooperation that's taking place below the leader level and made possible by our longstanding relationship and alliance with the Philippines is still very robust," the representative explained. "And that expands to areas like counterterror, all of the close people-to-people ties between the country, and human rights as well."
"And so the President will have frank and friendly discussions in his first meeting with Mr. Duterte."
'US well represented'
Meanwhile, the official cleared it is not accurate to say that Trump is not present for the launch of the East Asia Summit (EAS).
"The President is going to be attending a gala dinner on the night of the 12th, celebrating ASEAN's 50th anniversary, its 40th anniversary of ties with the United States, and also the EAS as well."
"The next morning is a formal launch ceremony where President Trump is going to meet with all of the leaders of the summits, including the EAS summits, and that will be the formal launch of EAS," the official said. "So I don't think it's accurate to say he's not going to be there."
The official explained that the said gathering on the 14th does not account for the entirety of the EAS but assured the US will be well represented. (PNA)