Chile, Mexico leaders to hold PH state visits before APEC summit
MANILA, Philippines – The leaders of Chile and Mexico will conduct state visits to the Philippines ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit from November 18 to 19.
President Benigno Aquino III is expected to welcome Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in Malacañang Palace on November 16, a source privy to APEC preparations said.
Aquino and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will meet on November 17, the eve of the APEC meeting.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in an interview on state-run dzRB on Sunday, November 7, that the two leaders were "comfortable" with conducting their state visits on the same trip to Manila as the APEC meeting.
"We’re very happy that they accepted our invitation," Valte said.
Aquino is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of the United States, Japan, Russia, Vietnam, Australia, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, New Zealand, and Peru.
In a news briefing on Thursday, Valte said APEC member-economies would be "all represented" at the Manila meeting, and have sent advance teams to the national capital.
Despite the lack of written confirmation, she said there is no indication that Chinese President Xi Jinping would skip the summit.
Aquino had earlier said there are no scheduled bilateral talks between him and Xi, but he is "very open to it."
Aquino earlier said he would not raise the issue of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) during the summit, which will be attended by other member-economies emboiled in similar disputes with China. US President Barack, a strong supporter of the Philippine stance on the row, will also be in Manila. – Rappler.com