Expect 'statesmanlike' Duterte in ASEAN Summit – expert
VIENTIANE, Laos – The world can expect a "statesmanlike" and "composed" Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte when he attends the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, an expert said.
A Philippine foreign affairs official also said Duterte has been briefed on the protocol required of a world leader at the ASEAN Summit.
The summit from Tuesday to Thursday, September 6 to 8, will be Duterte's first international meeting. (READ: ASEAN Summit 2016: What Duterte will do in Laos)
"Though Duterte is widely known as a crude, tough-talking strongman, I won't be surprised if we will see a more statesmanlike and composed version of him in the upcoming fora," international affairs expert Richard Heydarian told Rappler.
"Duterte will most likely emphasize necessity for greater economic integration and connectivity in ASEAN and beyond, and downplay the South China Sea disputes," Heydarian added.
Hellen dela Vega, assistant secretary for the Office of ASEAN Affairs of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), also told reporters in Manila that Duterte has already been informed of the protocol in Laos.
Briefed on 'ASEAN protocol'
Dela Vega said she herself told Duterte about the expected formalities.
Asked what Duterte said when she briefed him, Dela Vega said, "He smiled."
Dela Vega, for one, told Duterte about the "ASEAN protocol" – that the "most junior" world leader, that is the newest head of state to join ASEAN, "usually is the last to speak."
Dela Vega, however, said the Philippines is "in a special circumstance" because it is the incoming ASEAN chair. "In ASEAN, usually, they're very flexible with that," she said.
The DFA official was also asked if she reminded Duterte not to curse during the ASEAN Summit.
Dela Vega did not give a categorical answer, but said: "Well, he asked me if I'll be inside the meeting room, so I said, 'Yes, sir.' And he said, 'Okay.'" – Rappler.com