President Rodrigo R. Duterte, just like most of his counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), skipped the Asean-US Summit.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told journalists that he was informed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., who represented the President to the meeting, that the Summit will be among ministers.
Similarly, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien represented US President Donald Trump.
Asean leaders who attended the Summit are Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Dominguez, in a briefing, said he does not consider Trump’s absence in the Summit as something that will affect views on the US’ stance on Asean.
“He is missed. I don’t think it affects the view of the Asean about the reliability of the US. For reliability, we had better look into their actions, rather than into the presence,” he said.
“I suppose he has some other issues that he has to address and most of them are domestic at the moment. He has a slight problem with the legislature there so let’s allow him to make his choice,” he added. (PNA)