Indonesia, Brunei to hold state visits in PH next week

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Highlights

  • Talks will cover maritime security, border patrol, agriculture
  • Widodo to attend shipping service launch in Davao on April 30
  • Manalo says travel advisories will not set back ASEAN attendance
  • Manalo to attend meeting with US Secretary of State in May
  • 31st ASEAN Summit to be held in November in Clark, Pampanga

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) The Philippines will be hosting two neighboring countries in the days leading up to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Wednesday.

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah of Brunei and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia are expected to arrive for state visits on April 27 and 28 respectively just in time for the 30th ASEAN Summit on April 29.

"[The President] will have of course bilaterals with the Sultan and Indonesia when they come here for the visit," DFA Acting Secretary Enrique Manalo told CNN Philippines.

ASEAN 2017 Director-General for Operations Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr. said in a press conference that the agenda for the meetings will "be specific to issues that relate to both countries."

"For Indonesia I think it will be a follow-up of what President Duterte and President Widodo had talked about in Jakarta when the President went there for a visit," said Paynor.

"I would imagine that security of our sea lanes, cross-border traffic and patrol, agriculture, I think, may be one of the issues that will be discussed with Indonesia," he continued. "With Brunei, similar issues that I feel will just be reiterated and perhaps further elucidated."

President Rodrigo Duterte visited Indonesia in September and Brunei in October last year.

Widodo is also expected to join Duterte in the launch of a shipping service in Davao City on April 30.

The service is "expected to propel trade between businesses in different parts of Mindanao... and the Sulawesi provinces in Indonesia," the Philippine Information Agency reported.

The PIA said the two presidents would lead the send-off of M/V Super Shuttle Roro 14, which would travel from Davao to General Santos City and Bitung City in Indonesia.

Paynor added that they are still "looking for a time slot" for a possible bilateral meeting with Laos.

Travel advisories are 'precautionary'

Just ahead of the ASEAN gathering, security threats were issued after members of the Abu Sayyaf Group were reported to have landed in Bohol.

Countries Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States issued travel advisories to the Philippines.

However, Manalo said the advisories are not dissuading visitors. 

"This is just to put people on alert, and I don't think that these particular advisories will affect the tourism, because I think our tourism arrivals are increasing," said Manalo. "So I would view this more as precautionary advice that any embassy would probably give."

Military spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla assured on Tuesday that "the threat will not escalate."

Related: AFP to close in on remaining wounded ASG in Bohol

After the summit, Manalo is expected to join ASEAN foreign ministers in a meeting with United States' Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington in May.

The 31st ASEAN Summit is scheduled to be held from November 10 to 14, 2017 in Clark Field, Pampanga.

Among the expected guests are leaders from Japan, South Korea, China, and the United States.