A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson in Manila has announced that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has invited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit the country.
Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar on August 6 said that the Philippines has requested Trudeau to attend the Association of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
ASEAN is an organization of countries in southeast Asia set up to promote cultural, economic and political development in the region. ASEAN was officially formed in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration.
ASEAN was established in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand on August 8, 1967, and was later joined by Brunei (1984), Vietnam (1995), Myanmar (Burma) and Laos (1997) and Cambodia (1999).
Canada became an ASEAN dialogue partner in 1977 and is one of only 10 countries with this important level of partnership. The partners cooperate on political and security issues, regional integration, economic interests, interfaith dialogue, transnational crime and counterterrorism, disaster risk reduction and other areas.
Since 2011, Canada has provided $79 million in security assistance to ASEAN member states. This support is helping ASEAN achieve its ambitious integration goals, which in turn contributes to regional peace and security and helps promote Canadian foreign policy objectives in Southeast Asia.
As a group, ASEAN member economies represent Canada’s sixth-largest merchandise trading partner. In 2016, Canada-ASEAN merchandise trade reached $21.6 billion.