Duterte gets Trudeau in­vited to key se­cu­rity event

In­sider says Philip­pine pres­i­dent’s ges­ture won’t have any im­pact on whether PM con­fronts him about hu­man-rights vi­o­la­tions

Truro Daily News - - News | Canada - By Andy BlAtchford

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 dur­ing the prime min­is­ter’s visit to the Philip­pines for sum­mits re­lated to the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions.

Thanks to Duterte’s ef­fort, Trudeau will have a cov­eted op­por­tu­nity Tues­day to par­tic­i­pate in a work­ing lunch in Manila ahead of an ASEAN-af­fil­i­ated 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.”

Trudeau’s ticket to Tues­day’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.

Trudeau will also be the first Cana­dian leader to par­tic­i­pate in a one-hour ex­change at the ASEAN sum­mit, dur­ing which mem­bers will ask him ques­tions and de­bate the depth of Canada’s co-op­er­a­tion in the re­gion.

The op­por­tu­nity ar­rives at a time when Trudeau is mak­ing ef­forts to raise Canada’s international pro­file and demon­strate it can wres­tle with com­pli­cated chal­lenges, at home and abroad.

With­out the in­vi­ta­tion from Duterte, who is the sum­mit’s chair, Trudeau wouldn’t have made it through the door.

“It is the pre­rog­a­tive of the chair each year of ASEAN to in­vite guests,” said one se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they weren’t per­mit­ted to dis­cuss the mat­ter in pub­lic.

“Tra­di­tion­ally, there have been very few of those, so in a way the Philip­pines have gone out on a limb, let’s say.”

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, left, speaks with Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte as he ar­rives at the open­ing cer­e­mony for As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions in Manila, Philip­pines on Mon­day.

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