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'Informal diplomacy' in Brunei, Aquino style?

ROYAL WEDDING. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (L) along with Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Saudi Arabia's Prince Faisal bin Saud bin Abdul Mohsen bin Abdul Aziz (R) attend the wedding ceremony of Brunei's Royal couple Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah and her groom Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini on September 23. Photo by AFP.

ROYAL WEDDING. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (L) along with Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Saudi Arabia's Prince Faisal bin Saud bin Abdul Mohsen bin Abdul Aziz (R) attend the wedding ceremony of Brunei's Royal couple Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah and her groom Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini on September 23. Photo by AFP.

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino, who is in Brunei to attend a royal wedding, will try to engage the other Asian leaders in the event through "informal diplomacy."

In a press briefing on Sunday, September 23, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that President Aquino will find an "opportunity to interact with [other wedding guests] in a not so usual setting."

President Aquino and other leaders in Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia, are in Brunei for the wedding presentation of Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah's daughter, Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah.

Valte said this is one of the "sorts of events very rare" for the leaders to be together, citing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gatherings as some of them.

"As we all know, there are a number of leaders that were invited to the wedding and President Aquino may have a chance to engage them in a setting that is informal…[This will give them a rare chance to meet together] in an informal setting," she said, stressing that the reason for the leaders' presence there is not work-related.

"That’s very important also for the relationship of the President [with] the other leaders of our neighboring countries," Valte added.

This is be Aquino's second trip to Brunei since he made an official visit to the tiny oil-rich sultanate in June 2011. - Rappler.com