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Duterte attending Asean summits

Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s junta chief, will be excluded in the regional meet, an unusually bold step for the bloc which traditionally favors a non-interference policy

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President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the 38th and 39th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit this week which will be held virtually, Malacañang said on Monday.

In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque confirmed the Chief Executive’s attendance in the regional meet scheduled from 26 to 28 October, which aims to discuss efforts on addressing the pandemic and its impact.

“The President will attend via Zoom or computer hookup,” Roque told reporters.

The Palace official added that Duterte will participate in the ASEAN meetings with its dialogue partners, namely, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, the United States, Russia, and New Zealand.

“In the coming days, we’ll see what will be the declarations of the President during the meetings,” Roque said.

Expectations are high that the upcoming summits will focus on joint efforts for a post-pandemic recovery and vaccine procurement as Asian countries recently began to reopen their economies and borders following the drop in Covid-19 outbreak.

Brunei has also outlined a number of deliverables for the ASEAN agenda, including strengthening the region’s disaster response and upholding multilateralism.

Observers, meanwhile, expect some regional issues will be tackled during the summits, including the situation in Myanmar.

Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s junta chief, will be excluded in the regional meet, an unusually bold step for the bloc which traditionally favors a non-interference policy.

The series of meetings, which seeks to advance ASEAN’s community-building process under the theme “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper,” will also mark the conclusion of Brunei’s role as the region’s chairman this year.

During the ceremonies, Brunei will hand over the chairmanship to Cambodia as part of the preparations for ASEAN summits in 2022.

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