By: Genalyn D. Kabiling
DA NANG, Vietnam – After months of anticipation, President Duterte finally met United States President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit here yesterday.
The two world leaders had a brief and cordial encounter while on a break after the APEC economic leaders’ first retreat session here.
“It was a brief meeting. I got information from Secretary Bong Go who is the Special Assistant of the President that although it was short, it was warm and cordial. And President Trump reportedly told President Duterte that he will see him tomorrow,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque told reporters gathered at the International Media Center here.
“That’s because the US President is flying to the Philippines for the ASEAN Summit tomorrow,” he added.
Roque said the two leaders, who previously had two phone exchanges, appeared “genuinely pleased to have finally met in person.”
Go shared to the media a photo of the President in a huddle with Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during the APEC Summit.
The meeting was short, Go said. “Short lang, sabi nila, ‘See you tomorrow,’” he added.
After attending the APEC summit here, Trump is scheduled to visit the Philippines this weekend to attend the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and related meetings.
While on a three-day stay in Manila, the US leader is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Duterte on bilateral concerns and issues such as the tension in the Korean peninsula and the South China Sea issue.
Duterte has said he was looking forward to an “interesting” conversation with Trump, citing their similarities.
The Chief Executive also said he is excited to meet Trump. “Yes, of course because I feel that we share so many ideas along the same line of problems of governance,” Duterte told Manila-based reporters last Thursday here.
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