Duterte to skip US-ASEAN summit

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 ASEAN ASEAN – President Rodrigo Duterte has declined an invitation to attend the United States-ASEAN summit in Washington DC to be held after the May 9 Philippine elections.

During his Talk to the People aired on Wednesday morning, Duterte said it would not look good for him to attend the May 11 to 13 summit because by the time his successor will already be known.

“May invitation kasi ako sa America to join ASEAN countries to have a dialogue with [US President Joe] Biden. Ang problema kasi the dates are May 11 to 13, ang aming conference. By the time tapos na ang eleksyon, malaman na natin kung sino ang bagong presidente,” he said.

(I have an invitation in the US to join ASEAN countries to have a dialogue with President Joe Biden. The problem is the dates of the conference are May 11 to 13. By the time the elections are done and we’d already know who the new president is.)

“Ang mahirap kasi kung ako ang nandun [The problem is if I attend the summit], I might take a stand that could not be acceptable to the next administration,” he added.

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Duterte also expressed concern about his safety if he travels to the US for the summit.

“Kaya takot rin ako na pumunta roon. Una, mawala. Pangalawa, makapasok ako sa lugar na baka makatay lang ako. Pangatlo is a matter of principle. Noon pa sinasabi ko na talaga na ayaw ko. Reason is akin na lang yun,” he said.

(I am scared to go there. First, I might get lost. Second, I might enter places where I might butchered. The third is a matter of principle. I have been saying for a long time that I do not want to go there. I want to keep my reason to myself.)

Duterte said he has ordered Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to go to the US to discuss “many things,” including the ASEAN Summit and some confidential matters.

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