Duterte invites Trudeau to November ASEAN summit

Philippines Foreign Affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar has announced that the Philippines has invited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to attend the Association of the South East Asian Nations leaders’ summit in November.

“The Philippines also announced the invitation issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to attend the East Asia Summit in November as the guest of the chair,” Bolivar said at a press briefing.

The Philippines is chair of the ASEAN this year. Members of the 10-nation regional bloc take turns at chairmanship.

Bolivar also said that the two countries were able to discuss the future direction of their partnership during the meeting.

Last April, Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Malacañang protocols chief, said US President Donald Trump has also personally indicated over the phone that he is coming to the Philippines to attend the ASEAN summit in November.

The main summit in November will be attended by other leaders from the fast-growing region. Paynor said member states as well as neighboring countries like South Korea and New Zealand are expected to attend the leaders’ summit.

Trudeau last visited the country in November 2015 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting, hosted by Aquino administration. This was the first APEC summit he attended.

Meanwhile, Canada has pledged to provide a USD10 million scholarship program for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) students and professionals in the next five years.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said this initiative aims to strengthen people to people ties between the country and ASEAN through educational exchanges.

“This program will be open to all ASEAN countries. It will equip students and mid-career professionals with a particular focus on women to provide them critical knowledge and skills to help them contribute in the fight against poverty,” she said.

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