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Duterte to meet with Putin on APEC sidelines

President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet for the first time during a bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting in Lima, Peru on November 19. Robinson Niñal Jr./Presidential Photo, File

DA NANG – President Duterte is expected to have bilateral talks with Russian  President Vladimir Putin and with the leaders of host country Vietnam and Papua New Guinea on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit here.

Duterte will meet separately with Putin, Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Manuel Teehankee said at a press briefing yesterday that a meeting between Duterte and Putin “will be an opportunity for them to resume their discussions, as well as to express thanks for the commitment and aid of Russia in the Marawi crisis.”

The outbreak of the Marawi crisis in May prompted Duterte to cut short his official trip to Moscow. He was able to meet Putin briefly though.

The press briefing here was held ahead of President Duterte’s arrival last night from Manila.

The two leaders, Teehankee said, are expected to focus on enhancing cooperation, especially in security with the Marawi crisis likely to be included in the discussions.

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“And of course, there is also the important factor of economic cooperation, which is the highlight of APEC and the increased potential of economics, business and trade and investment between Russia and the Philippines,” he said.

In preparation for its chairmanship of APEC in 2018, Papua New Guinea will host a series of meetings of senior officials, ministers and leaders.

“Let’s not forget during the two, three days of meetings, there will be coordinated pull asides and meetings between various heads of state,” he said, adding arrangements are being made for Duterte’s possible talks with leaders of China and its special administrative region Hong Kong as well as with Chile.

According to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, the Chief Executive will push for inclusivity, globalization, regional economic integration in his keynote address at a forum on “regional economic integration –lessons learned from ASEAN” today (Thursday) at the Grand Ballroom of the Ariyana Da Nang Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Duterte will have his bilateral talks with Vietnam after the CEO summit.  

Ambassador to Vietnam Noel Servigon said the meeting between Duterte and Quang would be their second as the Philippine leader was here last year for an official visit.

Servigon said the Chief Executive will congratulate Quang for the successful hosting of the APEC. They will also discuss increased dialogue, bilateral economic relations as well as recent developments in the Southeast Asian region.

Comfortable life

Earlier yesterday before leaving Manila, President Duterte vowed to push for measures that would ensure a “comfortable life” for Filipinos, at the APEC meet.

Duterte said he would emphasize economic growth and development to achieve for Filipinos a “prosperous Philippines with equal access to opportunities to all.”

“As chair of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), we will use these platforms of ASEAN and APEC to promote advocacies close to the heart of every Filipino – access to international markets of our MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises), a comfortable life for our people. I’m okay with comfortable. Not so good a life or a luxurious life,” Duterte said in his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.

“I only dream for my country a better life for our people – food security, connectivity, the rule of law, anti-corruption and regional security,” he added.  – With Alexis Romero

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