Duterte arrives in Laos for ASEAN Summit

VIENTIANE, Laos – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Laos on Monday evening, September 5, to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit here.

Duterte is attending the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos, from Tuesday to Thursday, September 6 to 8.

This is Duterte's first international trip as Philippine leader. (READ: ASEAN Summit 2016: What Duterte will do in Laos)

On the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit here, Duterte is scheduled to meet with world leaders such as US President Barack Obama.

But that meeting with Obama has been called into question by the US President himself, after Duterte launched a foul-mouthed tirade against Obama before he left for Laos.

Duterte is also set to receive the Philippine chairmanship of ASEAN on Thursday.

An expert said the world can expect a "statesmanlike" version of Duterte at the ASEAN Summit.

"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. – Rappler.com


Paterno R. 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.