World: Trump to at­tend ASEAN sum­mit af­ter all

Global Times - Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - AFP

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has backed away from a threat to skip the sum­mit with South­east Asian lead­ers in the Philippines later this year, as the White House say­ing he will at­tend.

In a state­ment Fri­day, the White House said that Trump will visit Manila as part of a bumper Novem­ber 3-14 tour that will also in­clude stops in China, Ja­pan, South Korea, Vietnam and the US state of Hawaii.

The an­nounce­ment sets up the like­li­hood that Trump will meet con­tro­ver­sial fire­brand Filipino Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte.

Dur­ing a visit to ASEAN’s Jakarta head­quar­ters in April, Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence had promised al­lies – anx­ious about wan­ing US en­gage­ment in the re­gion – that Trump would at­tend the bloc’s sum­mit in Manila this Novem­ber.

But Trump’s sour­ing bro­mance with host Duterte, and a range of other is­sues had briefly thrown those plans in the air.

Trump said ear­lier this month that Duterte had ex­tended an invitation, but that he had not yet de­cided whether to ac­cept.

“He in­vited us so we’re go­ing to see,” Trump said.

Philip­pine of­fi­cials were sur­prised by the about-face and the is­sue was raised dur­ing for­eign min­is­ter Alan Peter Cayetano’s visit to Washington on Wed­nes­day.

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