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Trump Asia Visit Strengthens Relations With Philippines

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North Korea, South China Sea, counterterrorism top US President Trump’s agenda in the ASEAN Summit.

U.S. President Donald Trump has a focused agenda during his upcoming visit to the Philippines according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy.

Trump will be in Manila to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and related meetings next week.

The denuclearization of North Korea, meaningful code of conduct negotiations in the South China Sea and counterterrorism efforts top his list of issues to address.

“The United States will continue to maintain a very strong presence in the Indo Pacific region, will continue to pursue policies that contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity both in the region and back home here in the United States,” Murphy was quoted by state-run Philippine News Agency as saying.

Murphy’s remark was made at the recently held forum organized by the Stimson Center in partnership with the U.S. Philippines Society.

He also emphasized Washington’s 70 year partnership with Manila which he described as a “cornerstone of stability”.

Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Minister Patrick Chuasoto also laid out the Philippines’ thematic priorities as Chair of ASEAN 2017, and discussed the ASEAN goals of building an inclusive ASEAN community, upholding peaceful co-existence among member states, adhering to the rule of law in the peaceful resolution of disputes, sustaining inclusive economic growth, enhancing resiliency in the face of natural disasters, and strengthening its institutions.

“Much of ASEAN’s success is attributed to the ASEAN Way of consultation, consensus and cooperation. ASEAN was founded on the basis of several fundamental principles, among them mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs of other members, and peaceful settlement of disputes,” said Chuasoto.

The White House has confirmed that Trump is set to hold a bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, discussion on the South China Sea is unlikely.

Duterte loosened the Philippines' long alliance with Washington following U.S. former President Barack Obama’s tirades on his war on drugs, opted instead to strengthen ties with Russia and China.

 

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