MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Washington recently confirmed that United States President Barack Obama will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit next month in the Philippines.
This will be Obama’s second trip to the Philippines in over two years. In April last year, he paid a two-day state visit and witnessed the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), an agreement which seeks to bolster the U.S.-Philippine security relationship, and is still being reviewed by the Supreme Court.
Rumors are spreading that the US President wants to play basketball with Filipino children, but there’s no official confirmation about this request.
President Benigno Aquino promised to Chinese President Xi Jinping to be a “perfect host” for the APEC and should decide to attend the Summit in the country next month together with other leaders of the state, including President Obama.
In a report by The Philippine Star, their sources said the Chinese government already communicated with the Philippines regarding with the four-day APEC Summit, and there’s no negative impression that Xi won’t come.
There’s still no scheduled bilateral meeting between President Aquino and President Xi, and the tete-a-tete meeting with the Chinese leader in last year’s APEC Summit hosted by Beijing was not an accident, and said Xi is looking forward in having “cooperation” as part of the summit’s core objectives.
“Currently, there is no schedule for a bilateral talk, but we are very open to it. But there are others that have already indicated that they want bilateral discussions, including those that will be coming on state visits before the launch of APEC,” Aquino said in a report by The Philippine Star.
The President formally sent an invitation to Xi and sees a ray of hope the Chinese leader would come.
Aquino said Philippines have been very supportive when China hosted the event. He also assumes the leaders from Western APEC countries will show their support. But there’s still no response from the attendees.
Aquino said he would tell Xi that the event would promote stability and will foster better relations among countries, as what has been conveyed to the latter’s predecessors.
The President had emphasized the need for improved relations between the two countries despite the West Philippine Sea dispute in his 2011 state visit in China.
During his state visit in China, he said the Chinese companies invested around $600 million in the Philippine economy while local companies put in about P2.5 billion in China.
Aquino added China has been sending over 200,000 tourists in the country annually as against 800,000 Filipinos going to China as of year 2011. This shows the ties between the Philippines and China that cannot be ignored.
“The Chinese side has also pointed out the very long relationship. And obviously, it profits both to really be able to manage the issues that have a conflict between our two parties, and go back to a concentration on that which can be beneficial for both sides,” Aquino said to The Philippine Star.
Obama’s visit to the Philippines and Malaysia, shows the support of America for Asia’s regional institutions.
The 21 APEC members: the Philippines, US, Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Canada, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Russia, and Vietnam.