Duterte declines invitation to US-Asean summit, Palace confirms
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has already turned down U.S. President Donald Trump’s invitation to a U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit, Malacañang confirmed Friday.
“Well, he (Duterte) said he’s not going,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said. “For many reasons which I’ve already stated earlier. And the other was the cancellation of Senator Bato’s visa. So that added to the other factors.”
Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa earlier disclosed that his U.S. visa had been canceled and was told he can re-apply to secure a US visa again.
This led the President to threaten to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) if the U.S. does not “correct” its cancellation of Dela Rosa’s visa
Trump invited Duterte alongside 11 other leaders of Asean countries for a summit to be held in Las Vegas in March.
Panelo earlier said the President was still thinking whether he would accept Trump’s invitation. He said Duterte was mindful of possibly getting denied entry to the U.S. and making some U.S. senators “unhappy” on seeing him there.
“For one, as we said earlier, the demand of the U.S. senators to release Ms. De Lima is an intrusion to our sovereignty, rights as a state. Because they cannot dictate on us or bully us into releasing a citizen of this country who was lawfully detained,” Panelo added.
The U.S. earlier passed a budget that includes a provision banning officials involved in the detention of Senator Leila de Lima. Duterte, in response, ordered the banning of U.S. senators who supported the opposition senator’s release.
Edited by MUF
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.