Following a two-week blitz from Phnom Penh to Bangkok to attend regional summits, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he’d likely travel more – after all, he’s accepted all of the invitations from fellow world leaders for him to make state visits.
“What countries have invited me? All. What countries will I accept? All. Kaya marami pa tayong ganito (So we’ll have more of this),” said Marcos in a chit-chat with the media on Saturday, November 19, at the end of a working visit to Thailand for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.
Marcos held five bilateral meetings in Thailand and three in Cambodia when he visited the two countries in mid-November.
And he’s logged in quite the number of airline miles (on PR001 and PR002, respectively) since assuming office. His first state visits were to Indonesia and Singapore in early September, then New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in late September. Shortly after the US trip, Marcos flew to Singpaore again for a weekend, but for a decidedly less formal – and certainly more controversial – reason: the Grand Prix.
Thus far, Marcos has met his counterpart from the following countries during bilateral meetings: Japan, the US, Cambodia, Brunei, Canada, China, Saudi Arabia, France, New Zealand, and Australia. The Philippines has also received invitations from other countries for a state visit, although the Palace typically does not immediately disclose details of these invitations.
Marcos is set to visit China – his first state visit outside Southeast Asia – on January 3, 2023.
“So I’d like to go to them all at some point. Pero you know the scheduling, I have to go back to Manila, marami rin kaming kailangan ayusin at tapusin (there are so many things to need to fix and finish),” said Marcos.
Bilateral meetings and state visits, especially, are rife with protocol.
In the case of bilateral meetings, the two sides must determine where the meeting will take place, when they’ll take place, and what topics the two leaders are likely to talk about. Meetings can also be cancelled or postponed at the last minute for both political and logistical reasons – schedules can change last-minute, especially during summits that gather leaders from all over the world.
State visits, meanwhile, can be expensive for the host country. State visits are the highest form of visit, as opposed to official and working visits. Typically, it’s the host country who shoulders a bulk of the expenses of a visiting head of state or government. A gala dinner or banquet typically also takes place in honor of the visiting dignitary.
Marcos has been criticized for the amount of foreign trips he’s made in the first months of office. Speaking to reporters in Phnom Penh, Marcos joked that his own mother, the former first lady Imelda Marcos, wondered when he was in the office.
Asked if he’d fly to Davos in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF), Marcos said it’d be “traveling too much.” He’s set to fly to China in early January – or a few weeks before the WEF – for a state visit. – Rappler.com