MANILA, Philippines – On Saturday, April 29, President Rodrigo Duterte will officially welcome 9 other Southeast Asian leaders to the first international summit he will host: the 30th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings.
For Duterte, it will be a meeting with familiar faces since he has spent several days from September 2016 to March 2017 visiting each ASEAN country.
He has sung a duet with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, gone shopping with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and indulged in a nasi lemak lunch with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
He has given roses to Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and received a birthday surprise from Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.
These light moments were enjoyed between serious ones – bilateral meetings in royal palaces and government houses, formal signing ceremonies, and awe-inducing military honors.
At the end of his ASEAN tour, Duterte begins his ASEAN 2017 chairmanship armed with the knowledge of the issues dearest to the hearts of his fellow leaders, and fond memories of his moments with them.
LAOS, September 6 to 8, 2016 | Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith
Duterte made his international debut at the ASEAN Summit held in Laos. There, he was welcomed by summit host Laos. Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.
INDONESIA, September 8 to 9, 2016 | President Joko Widodo
Amid meetings at the palatial Istana Merdeka in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, Duterte and President Joko Widodo went window-shopping at a local mall. Donning batik shirts, the two toasted to each other during a state dinner.
VIETNAM, September 28 to 29, 2016 | President Tran Dai Quang and Prime Minsiter Nguyen Xuan Phuc
Duterte’s first visit to a communist country was in Vietnam. There, he exchanged views with President Tran Dai Quang and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
BRUNEI, October 16 to 18, 2016 | Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
Duterte had to be extra careful about protocol and manners during his meeting with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the first royal he met during his presidency.
THAILAND, November 9, 2016 and March 20 to 22, 2017 | Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha
In November, Duterte visited Thailand to pay respects to the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He returned in March to hold meetings with Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The two leaders happened to celebrate their birthdays within days of each other. Prayut surprised Duterte with a birthday cake. The two bonded over cultural presentations and a state dinner.
MALAYSIA, November 10, 2016 | Prime Minister Najib Razak
In Malaysia, Duterte and Prime Minister Najib Razak indulged their common passion for singing. In a dinner hosted in Duterte’s honor, Razak sang “The Young Ones” by Cliff Richards while the Philippine President gave his rendition of the ballad, “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
CAMBODIA, December 13 to 14, 2016 | Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Norodom Sihamoni
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen took a “selfie” with Duterte. The Philippine chief executive received a royal welcome from King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace.
SINGAPORE, December 15 to 16, 2016 | Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Tony Tan
MYANMAR, March 19 to 20, 2017 | President U Htin Kyaw and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi
Duterte had talks with Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw. He also met State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi to whom he gave a bouquet of red roses and cash assistance to help her government deal with the Rohingya crisis. Suu Kyi’s visit to the Philippines for the ASEAN summit will be her first time in the country.
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