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Trump to meet Duterte in bilateral talks in Manila

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano (3rd from right) with members of the Filipino community in Washington, D.C. during the town hall meeting held at the Philippine Embassy on 27 September 2017.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (via PhilAmPress) —  President Donald Trump will meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during his 12-day trip to Asia and Hawaii next month, the White House reported.

 

Trump will have bilateral meetings with the Philippine president and "other leaders" when he goes to the Philippines for a dinner celebrating the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

 

Trump will have multiple bilateral meetings during the trip, including with Japan's Shinzo Abe, South Korea's Moon Jae-in and China's Xi Jinping. But talks with Duterte, whose government is accused of widespread extrajudicial killing amid a crackdown on drugs, will raise the most eyebrows.

 

Trump received swift blowback in April for taking a call with Duterte, which the U.S. president described as "very friendly." He drew further criticism by inviting the Philippine leader to the White House.

 

In the call with Duterte, Trump congratulated him for doing "an unbelievable job on the drug problem," according to a transcript cited by The New York Times.

 

 

SECRETARY Alan Peter S. Cayetano (left) meets with US Solicitor General Noel Francisco (right), the first Filipino-American to hold the senior position in the US Government.

 

When the White House announced Trump's trip last month, it said he would travel to the Philippines. But it did not previously highlight the meeting with Duterte.

 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the Duterte meeting.

 

During the 12-day Asia trip, Trump plans to discuss curbing North Korea's nuclear and missile program, as well as trade deals with Asian nations.

 

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano sees a stronger Philippine-US alliance.

“From my meeting with the first Filipino-American Solicitor General of the United States, to my interaction with various FilCom groups throughout my visit, and to my conversations with the Filipino waiter at my hotel in Washington and the Filipina airline employee who assisted us at the Dulles Airport, it was clear that the Philippine diaspora is the foundation upon which were built over the years, the deep friendship and vital partnership between the Philippines and the United States, and their peoples,”  Cayetano said in a statement shortly before returning to Manila.

 

The Secretary expressed the hope that members of the Filipino diaspora would view themselves as active partners for change in the Philippines, and in their communities here in the United States.

 

“Whether in big things or small things, it is our hope that you will always strive to make your own contributions to the change that we are all moving towards, as a people. Give back to our people, to your communities here and at home, the knowledge, the expertise, the experiences, the learning, the wisdom, that you have gained, from over the years since when you left,” Secretary Cayetano told audiences of his Filipino community events in the US, extolling the Filipino values of bayanihan and pakikipagkapwa-tao.

 

He also highlighted the importance of sharing the Philippine narrative with the American people, from the shared sacrifices of our soldiers in war-time; and our peoples’ shared commitment to democracy and human development in peace. He recalled that in one roundtable discussion, a law professor remarked that many Americans may think they know the Philippines and Filipinos, when actually they don’t.

 

“In sharing our story with Americans, we will be able to affirm how our separate histories have been woven by the threads of our common experiences, our shared values, and our mutual commitment to development. And may we strive to ensure an enduring friendship between our two peoples,” Secretary Cayetano also said.

 

The Secretary likewise reminded the Filipino-American community that a very important aspect of the Philippine story is our culture. He urged them to always treasure our culture, which is constant and a defining element of the national identity.

 

“Culture transcends technology, time, distance, and place. Our culture and traditions go with Filipino families wherever they go. The Filipino diaspora and families overseas bring our time-honored traditions all around the world. Into households in Hong Kong, the churches of old Europe, tiny communities in Africa, and wherever else we find ourselves,” the Secretary said, emphasizing the importance of people-to-people ties and urging Filipino Americans to be ambassadors of Philippine culture.

 

During his visit to the United States, Secretary Cayetano met with Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the first Filipino-American to hold the senior position in the US Government; held Town Hall Meetings in Washington DC and New York; interacted with various groups of Filipinos in the United States, as well as individuals; and had discussions on Philippine issues with Americans.

 

He then joined Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and other economic managers last week for the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. ###    

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