PM welcomed Duterte invite
DUTERTE GOES ‘OUT ON A LIMB’ TO GET TRUDEAU INVITED TO KEY SECURITY EVENT
Rodrigo Duterte went “out on a limb” to secure a key invitation for Justin Trudeau to attend a prestigious Asia-Pacific security event alongside powerful world leaders, government officials say.
But one senior insider insists the Philippine president’s helpful gesture won’t have any impact on whether Trudeau confronts him about human-rights violations in the southeast Asian country that have shocked people around the world.
Trudeau has hinted he might bring up the issue of human rights with Duterte, if he gets the opportunity.
The leaders have no one-on-one meetings planned while the prime minister is visiting the Philippines for summits related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Francisco Fernandez of the Philippines embassy in Ottawa says Canada asked for the invitation and Manila didn’t hesitate to grant it, in part because of trade and investment ties and in part because 837,000 people of Filipino descent live in Canada.
Thanks to Duterte’s effort, Trudeau will have a coveted opportunity today to participate in a working lunch in Manila ahead of an ASEANaffiliated meeting known as the East Asia Summit. Trudeau will join leaders from 18 countries, including China, Russia and the United States, to discuss security issues.
It remains to be seen if Trudeau will challenge Duterte face to face over his violent drug war. Duterte’s bloody crackdown has included extrajudicial killings by his government that have left thousands dead.
“There are a range of issues that I could bring up with him, that I may bring up with him, if we have an opportunity,” Trudeau said Saturday in Danang, Vietnam. “There’s always human rights concerns to bring up with a wide range of leaders.”
Fernandez said Duterte’s position is clear: “He was elected on the platform that he would be addressing the illegal drugs situation in the Philippines and that is what he’s doing.”
Trudeau’s ticket to today’s luncheon is a breakthrough because no other Canadian prime minister has ever been invited. He’s expected to discuss North Korea and the violent attacks on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Eventually, Canada hopes to become a permanent member of the East Asia Summit.