Duterte wary of long flight to Peru for APEC meeting
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte listens to a question from reporters at Manila's International Airport, Philippines on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016. Duterte is set to fly to Bangkok to pay his respects to late Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He then goes to Malaysia for an official visit.
AP/Aaron Favila
Duterte wary of long flight to Peru for APEC meeting
POSTSCRIPT - Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - November 11, 2016 - 4:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte remains undecided if he will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting this year as it would require him to take a long flight to Lima, Peru.

"It's a long way across the globe. It's a long haul. And it will... kill you by the time you reach (destination)," Duterte said in a press briefing after arriving from Malaysia on Friday.

Duterte has asked Peace Process Adviser Jesus Dureza and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. to attend the APEC Summit for him instead.

Yasay, however, has told the president that he needs to be present at the summit, which will be attended by his counterparts from 20 other countries.

"Tapos sabi din ni Jun Yasay, hindi puwede 'yan, kailangan nandoon ka. Kasi dapat mayroon kang pakikitaan na tao doon. Sino? May binigay siya na pangalan," the president said.

The president added that if he could do away with it, he would rather not attend the meeting in Peru.

"I'd rather not kasi malayo. I hate long hauls. Talagang 'di ko kaya 'yan," Duterte said.


The postponed bilateral meeting between Duterte and American President Barack Obama might push through if the former decides to attend the APEC Summit.

This will be the first APEC meeting for Duterte and the last for Obama, who will step down on Jan. 20, 2017.

Obama canceled his supposed meeting with Duterte at the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Laos after the Filipino leader remarked "son of a bitch" when asked about reports that the US president would raise concerns about human rights in the government's war on drugs.

The outgoing American president has been vocal about his concerns over Duterte's anti-drugs campaign due to the rising number of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects. Duterte has, in turn, said that Obama "can go to hell."

Aside from Obama, Duterte might also meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping if he decides to attend the summit in Peru from November 19 to 20.

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