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The ASEAN Summit: Convergence of 21 world leaders

This coming 31st ASEAN Summit, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of this regional association, will establish a landmark in Philippine foreign affairs and international relations. Aside from US President Donald Trump, Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's great leader Xi Jin Ping, the ASEAN Summit will be graced by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South Korea's Prime Minister Moon Jae In, Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English. It is the distinct honor for our country to be hosting this historic summit.

The ten member-nations of ASEAN shall converge in Clark to discuss and agree on the regional and global problems besetting the world today, like terrorism, global warming, and poverty. Brunei Darussalam will be represented by its head of state and head of government Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia by its head of government Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Indonesia by President Joko Widodo who is both head of state and head of government. Laos Peoples Democratic Republic will be represented by its head of government Prime Minister Thonloun Sisoulith, Malaysia by its prime minister and head of government Tun Abdul Razak, and Myanmar by its head of government, the famous state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The chairman of the summit is no other than our very own President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Singapore will again be represented by its Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, son of the famous Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of that tiny but very strong economic giant, which used to be a part of Malaysia like Brunei. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o Cha will represent Thailand and Vietnam will be represented by its head of government, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The ASEAN Secretary General, who was a long-time Thai politician, Surin Pitsuwan will, of course, attend. He will be joined by United Nations' Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Two countries which had been granted an observer status are Papua New Guinea, represented by its head of government, Peter O'Neil; and Timor Leste, to be represented by its head of government, Rui Maria de Aranju. Foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano and DFA's top expert on global summits, Ambassador Marciano Paynor, together with all the DFA officials will have their hands full. The mission of hosting too many global giants who shall all converge in Subic shall present a tremendous challenge to the government. This summit will establish our country as a respectable member of the international community of nations. We should all support the government in ensuring the success of this momentous summit.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com.

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