Duterte to attend 32nd ASEAN Summit in Singapore

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President Rodrigo Duterte, during his chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2017.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 20) — President Rodrigo Duterte will be in Singapore on April 27 to 28 for the 32nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

"They will hold a working dinner on 27 April and the Leaders' Retreat the following day on 28 April," Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Helen de la Vega told reporters.

Singapore is the current ASEAN chairman.

De la Vega said the summit will gather only the 10 ASEAN members, namely, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

"The April Summit is usually something that is, if I may call it, like an in-house meeting only of ASEAN," she said. "The first opportunity where we have other, for instance, leaders — when we say leaders, world leaders, our dialogue partners — will be in November. Just like our own experience here last year."

As for bilateral meetings with other world leaders, De la Vega said two ASEAN leaders have expressed interest to meet with Duterte. She did not mention the leaders.

Meanwhile, De la Vega said issues on disputes in the South China Sea will be raised as the Philippines will assume the coordinator role in ASEAN-China relations in August.

She added ASEAN will discuss developments on negotiations on the proposed Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

"I think what is important is that we put a premium on the positive momentum that we have now in the improvement of ASEAN-China relations and we will see where — how we will progress in the next few years — if I may say few years because sabi ko nga the country coordinatorship is about three years," she said.

The Philippines is among ASEAN members that have overlapping claims with China in the South China Sea. Others are Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.