Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte has declined an invitation to attend a US-backed conference of Southeast Asian leaders in Washington DC following the May 9 presidential election.
Mr Duterte told a taped cabinet meeting aired on Wednesday that attending the May 11-13 summit would not be too appropriate for him because his successor would already be known and could not share his position on the “agreement” or “agreement”. Promise “to be discussed at that meeting.
“I have an invitation to the United States to join the ASEAN countries for talks with President Joe Biden. The problem is that the conference is scheduled for May 11-13, and by then, the election is over and we already know who the new president is.” He referred to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“I may take a position that will not be acceptable to the next administration.”
The Philippine Foreign Affairs Agency has not issued an official statement on who will attend the conference. Mr Duterte, 77, has never been to the United States in his six years in office.
On May 9, Filipinos will choose a successor who could re-evaluate the current administration’s policy of engagement with China.
Political analysts say his policy towards the country‘The maritime dispute with Beijing is a major election issue.
Vietnam and Malaysia, which are members of ASEAN, also claim parts of the South China Sea.
The Philippines and the European Union (EU) agreed at a recent joint committee meeting to strengthen the partnership to maintain a rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region and stressed the importance of implementing a 1980s agreement on maritime borders, which China recognizes. No. .
In a statement on Wednesday, the State Department (DFA) said the Philippines and the European bloc recognized the importance of the 2016 UN-backed arbitration ruling that invalidated Beijing.‘The South China Sea claims more than 80% of the sea, according to 1940s maps.
“On maritime security, both the Philippines and the EU have expressed concern over unilateral measures that threaten peace, security and stability, and international law-abiding order.” That said.
According to the DFA, the Philippines has proposed setting up a subcommittee on maritime cooperation.
Two ships hired by a local agency to survey the Philippines-claimed area in the South China Sea were reportedly tailed and overturned by a Chinese Coast Guard ship earlier this month.
International observers say the South China Sea, a key shipping route, is important for China’s regional ambitions, which include, among other things, trade wars with the United States over tariffs and intellectual property rights.
The United States last year reiterated its commitment to protect the Philippines against any armed attack in the South China Sea and other parts of the Pacific. – Kyle Aristophier T. Atienja