Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Duterte might be ‘persuaded’ to accept Trump’s invitation

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 21, 2020): Duterte might be ‘persuaded’ to accept Trump’s invitation (By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos)

DUTERTE-TRUMP MEETING. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and US President Donald Trump discuss matters during a bilateral meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on November 13, 2017. Duterte is among the 10 Southeast Asian leaders who have been invited by Trump to attend the US-Asean Summit in Las Vegas on March 14, 2020. (Presidential photo by Karl Normal Alonzo)

There is a possibility that President Rodrigo Duterte might be “persuaded” to accept US President Donald Trump’s invitation to attend a summit in Las Vegas in March this year, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte might fly to the US since the summit is meant to improve the relations between the US and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

“There is a US-Asean special summit, so the invitation is to all Asean leaders,” Panelo said in a phone patch interview.

“Given that this is an Asean meeting of leaders, baka ma-persuade si Presidente na um-attend (The President might be persuaded to attend),” he added.

Panelo, however, could not say how high the chance is for the President to get convinced to go to the US.

Duterte is among the 10 Southeast Asian leaders that have been invited by Trump to attend the US-Asean Summit in Las Vegas on March 14, according to the January 9 letter released by Malacañang on Sunday.

The invitation was first conveyed during the Asean-US meeting at the Asean Summit and Related Summits held in Bangkok, Thailand in November last year.

In the letter, Trump said the upcoming summit will provide an “excellent opportunity” for Washington and the Southeast Asian regional bloc “to broaden and deepen the cooperation on matters of great importance to the nearly 1 billion people in the United States and Asean nations that we have the privilege to represent.”

The Palace, in a press statement on Sunday, said Duterte’s possible meeting with Trump would “reaffirm the longstanding alliance between the Philippines and US.”

Despite persistently getting an invite from Trump to visit the US since April 2017, Duterte has expressed reservations to accept the invitation due to the apparent opposition of some American lawmakers to his war on illegal drugs.

The President has also expressed wary of long-haul flights and cold weather in the US.

Trump’s latest invitation to Duterte also came despite a recent US legislation prohibiting the entry of all Philippine officials supposedly behind the arrest and continued detention of Senator Leila de Lima.

De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame in Quezon City since February 2017 due to her supposed links to rampant narcotics trade inside the national penitentiary during her stint as Justice secretary.

Panelo said Trump’s move clearly “contradicts” the US Senate’s position on de Lima’s case.

He also stressed that Trump’s office, through US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has the authority to impose the travel ban against the Philippine officials linked to de Lima’s arrest.

“Pero malabo pa rin (But the travel ban is still unclear),” Panelo said. “And the fact alone na nagi-imbita si Presidente Trump (that President Trump is inviting President Duterte), that contradicts already the position of the Senate.”

An amendment to the US 2020 budget has given Pompeo the jurisdiction to bar Philippine government officials involved in de Lima’s “wrongful detention” from entering the US.

The US Senate has also passed Senate Resolution 142, asking Trump to impose sanctions on Philippine government officials allegedly behind de Lima’s detention.

Last December, Duterte threatened to impose a visa application on all American citizens, in case the US bans Filipino officials who had a role in de Lima’s arrest.

Duterte has also barred the entry of US Senators Richard Durbin, Patrick Leahy, and Markey for supporting the call for de Lima's immediate release.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.