The foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson early next month, an acting spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines said Wednesday.
Robespierre Bolivar told a news conference that Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo will go to the United States in early May to attend the meeting between the ASEAN FMs and the U.S. state secretary.
“The agenda and the exact time of the meeting are still being finalized. But it’s sometime in early May,” Bolivar said, adding that the meeting is confirmed but the details are still being worked out.
US President Donald Trump is among the 14 heads of state expected to attend the celebration here of the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Nov. 13-14.
Joining Trump – aside from leaders of the ten ASEAN member-countries – are Russian president Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-Ahn.
“We expect some 4,000 people for that event,” Department of Tourism director for Central Luzon Ronnie Tiotuico said in a forum with the Pampanga Press Club.
He said he was not sure if Chinese President Xi Jinping would attend the event.
The outcome of the informal summit between United States President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping was good for Asean – as it exceeded Asean leaders’ expectations.
What emerged from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort will set the tone for Asean’s future engagement with the US and China. Asean leaders are scheduled to meet later this month at their 30th summit in Manila to review external relations with all dialogue partners. Their relations with the two powers will top the agenda.
At the ministerial ‘retreat’ in February at Boracay, Asean foreign ministers asked for a special meeting with US State Secretary Rex Tillerson to discuss the nature of Asean-US relations under the Trump administration. The meeting has now been scheduled for early May in Washington DC. After the Trump-Xi meeting, Asean leaders now have more confidence in dealing with the dialogue partners collectively or separately.