Duterte off to China, Hong Kong this month

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is again headed to China, this time to attend the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) on April 10.

Duterte, who will be on his third visit to China as president, is set to give a speech at the BFA plenary session, along with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"Addressing the BFA plenary is a singular privilege for the Philippines and a privilege for acknowledging the President's role and leadership in Asia and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region," Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Manuel Antonio Teehankee said in a Palace news briefing on Friday, April 6.

Duterte and Xi are also set to hold a bilateral meeting in the afternoon of April 10, after the morning plenary.

The two leaders are expected to discuss "violent extremist, terrorism, cross-border traffic of illegal narcotics," said Teehankee.

The West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) row may also come up in the meeting.

The Boao Forum is the brainchild of former Philippine president Fidel V. Ramos, former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke, and former Japanese prime minister Morihiro Hosokawa. 

Held annually in Boao, in China's Hainan province, the forum is meant to be a platform for heads of state, business leaders, and academics to discuss challenges facing Asia and how Asia can be at the forefront of economic growth.

After his April 9 to 10 stay in China, Duterte will head to Hong Kong to meet with the Filipino community on Thursday, April 12.

Teehankee said Duterte will use the opportunity to ask about the conditions of overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong. Protection for OFWs is among the Duterte administration's priorities, he added.

Duterte's first tip to China as Philippine chief was in October 2016, for a state visit, and then in May 2017 for the Belt and Road Forum. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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