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Palace welcomes Trump's extra day in the Philippines

US President Donald Trump waves from the top of the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Sept. 29, 2017 as he leaves for New Jersey. AP

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s plan to extend his stay in the Philippines to attend “the most important day” of a regional summit after the American leader was criticized for initially deciding to skip the event.

“The Palace welcomes the announcement of the White House that President Donald Trump would extend his stay in the Philippines to attend the East Asia Summit,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told state-run Radyo Pilipinas.

“The President looks forward to engaging President Trump in the productive dialogue at the ASEAN-US Commemorative Summit and the EAS,” Andanar added.

Trump is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and other leaders during his visit to Manila as part of his Asian trip this month.

READ: Trump to hold bilateral meeting with Duterte in Manila | 21 leaders, UN chief to arrive in Manila for ASEAN summit

The Philippine government earlier said Trump would receive a "very warm welcome in Manila."

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirms the US president will be spending an extra day in the Philippines to accommodate the annual event on November 14.

Trump had been criticized by many experts in the region for skipping the summit that former president Barack Obama regularly attended, saying it put into question US commitment to and focus on Southeast Asia.

Trump had originally been scheduled to leave Manila right as the summit got under way.

Trump announced the news to reporters as he departed the White House en route to his first flight to Hawaii.

He says of his visit: “I think we’re going to have great success.” — with report from The Associated Press

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