Duterte skips ASEAN-US Summit in Laos

Paterno Esmaquel II
Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr attends the ASEAN-US Summit in Duterte's place

ASEAN-US SUMMIT. ASEAN leaders and US President Barack Obama have a photo opportunity at the start of the ASEAN-US Summit in Vientiane, Laos, on September 8, 2016. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sent his foreign secretary, Perfecto Yasay Jr (5th from R), to attend the event. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP

VIENTIANE, Laos – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte skipped the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-US Summit on Thursday morning, September 8.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr attended the ASEAN-US Summit in Duterte’s place.

The Philippine Office of the President has not released an explanation for Duterte’s absence as of posting time.

During the ASEAN-US Summit, Obama brought up the Philippines’ legal victory against China over the South China Sea.

An arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, struck down China’s expansive claim over the South China Sea in a historic ruling on July 12. 

Obama said on Thursday: “With respect to maritime issues, we continue to work to ensure that disputes are resolved peacefully, including in the South China Sea. The landmark arbitration ruling in July, which is binding, helped to clarify maritime rights in the region.” (READ: Obama says South China Sea ruling ‘binding‘)

“I recognize this raises tensions but I also look forward to discussing how we can constructively move forward together to lower tensions and promote diplomacy and regional stability,” Obama added.

Duterte also skipped the ASEAN meeting with the United Nations on Wednesday, so he could pay a courtesy call on Laos President Bounnhang Vorachith.  

The ASEAN-UN meeting took place before Wednesday’s gala dinner, where Duterte was seen exchanging pleasanties with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Philippine leader had publicly detested Ban’s remarks on extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. – Rappler.com 

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.