President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s first official travel abroad could be to Southeast Asia, possibly Indonesia or Singapore, a ranking official said Wednesday.

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said many Philippine partners have sent an invitation for Marcos to visit their states, including the United States, China, and the European Union.

"What I am told by our friends in Malacañang, the president is really looking first to travel in the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region," he said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is recommending that he go to Indonesia and Singapore, of course, has invited President Marcos so he may go to those countries first," he added.

The relations between Indonesia and the Philippines are marked by various high-level engagements in various fields, including maritime security and counter-terrorism.

Early this month, they also laid the groundwork for the delimitation of their continental shelf boundary in the Celebes Sea, a declared priority for both countries.

According to the DFA, the maritime boundary delimitation between the world’s two largest archipelagic states is a significant state practice on delimitation and contributes to the development of international law, particularly the law of the sea.

Meanwhile, Romualdez said Marcos also wanted to be more active in Asean affairs and has expressed interest in playing a "major role" in getting the 10-member bloc together.

"In fact, I can tell you that he's had conversations with (Singapore) Prime Minister Lee (Hsien Loong) even before his inauguration and they both agree that Asean will going to be the forum or institution that strengthen our part of the world and be ready to talk to China, the US, the EU on how we can conduct ourselves in the Indo-Pacific region," he said. (PNA)