President Marcos set to visit Brunei, Singapore

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
President Marcos set to visit Brunei, Singapore
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr
Bongbong Marcos / Facebook Page

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos is expected to advance the country’s position in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) when he addresses top military officials and experts from different parts of the world in Singapore next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

Marcos will deliver the keynote address at the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies on May 31.

Before the Singapore trip, Marcos and First Lady Liza Marcos will visit Brunei on May 28 to 29 upon the invitation of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

DFA Assistant Secretary Aileen Mendiola-Rau said several memoranda of understanding will be signed with Brunei, including those on priority areas ranging from agriculture to food security, maritime cooperation and tourism.

The President is the first Philippine leader to address the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier defense summit, according to Mendiola-Rau.

Marcos’ visit was upon the invitation of former Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Mendiola-Rau said she expects the President to touch on the maritime disputes with China in his keynote address.

“I presume for all meetings and as well as the speech of the President, his keynote address, this (WPS) issue will be touched but I do not wish to preempt the statements of the President,” she said.

Mendiola-Rau added that the summit is expected to include a delegation from China.

“Only one leader delivers this address every year, and President Marcos was given the distinct honor for this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue,” Mendiola-Rau said.

DFA spokesperson Maria Teresita Daza said the Shangri-La Dialogue “gives a good platform for a country to actually expound and articulate its position on key issues.”

The Philippines has countered China’s repeated aggression against Filipino vessels in the WPS. Beijing continues to disregard the 2016 arbitral ruling favoring Manila and rejecting its expansive claims in the South China Sea.

Through this Shangri-La Dialogue, Mendiola-Rau said, the Philippines will have the opportunity to provide the stakeholders “an important source of accurate, objective information on international strategic issues important to the region.”

Started in 2002, the Shangri-La Dialogue is an annual inter-governmental security forum held in Singapore. It is organized by the IISS, a leading think tank specializing in security and defense issues.

The dialogue brings together defense ministers, military leaders and senior defense officials, as well as business leaders and security experts, from across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond to discuss critical security challenges.

On the sidelines of the defense summit, Marcos will also meet with the new Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and new Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, Daza said.

The Philippines and Singapore commemorate the 55th year of their diplomatic relations this year. Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan recently visited Manila.

Mendiola-Rau said Marcos is also likely to have several side meetings with some heads of governments during the event.

Brunei visit

Meanwhile, economic cooperation is likely to top the agenda during the bilateral meeting of Marcos and Bolkiah, Mendiola-Rau added.

“As you know, Brunei is a powerhouse in terms of energy but they are also a good market for us,” she said.

Mendiola-Rau said Marcos’ first state visit to Brunei would provide an avenue for the two Southeast Asian leaders to “take stock of the progress of our commitments and ongoing bilateral undertakings, and fine-tune them accordingly.”

“Aside from being part of the tradition of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders visiting fellow ASEAN countries, this state visit is in line with the President’s commitment to continue exploring avenues for economic growth and job opportunities for Filipinos as the business forum is aimed to boost trade and investments into the country,” she said.

Daza said the President will also meet with the Filipino community and business leaders living in Brunei and highlight the contribution of more than 25,000 Filipinos there.

The Chief Executive will also engage with top business leaders in Brunei at a forum aimed at promoting trade and investment relations between the two nations.

Daza said the Philippines and Brunei are “strong regional partners” and are members of the ASEAN, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area.

The Philippines and Brunei are also claimants to the disputed South China Sea.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Brunei were established on Jan. 1, 1984.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with