Meetings, protests and controversy on the last leg of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Asia. His final stop: Manila for a gathering of Asia-Pacific leaders known as ASEAN.
Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte held their first bilateral meeting described as warm and friendly. As CGTN’s Barnaby Lo reports, a lot has changed in a year.
In his first bilateral meeting with President Trump, Duterte acknowledged the long-standing alliance between the Philippines and the United States.
And even as the two leaders’ spokespeople had conflicting versions of whether the issue of human rights was discussed, in the succeeding meeting, the chemistry seemed to have stuck.
“Rodrigo, I would like to commend you on your success as ASEAN Chair,” the U.S. president said.
Out on the streets of Manila, thousands of anti-U.S. protesters tried to get as close as they can to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN Summit venue to get their message across.
While the Philippine government has rolled out the red carpet for Donald Trump, protesters have been taking to the streets for days now, and their message is loud and clear, “Trump is not welcome here in the Philippines.”
But Monday’s tension-free meetings weren’t limited to those with Trump in attendance. In his opening remarks in a summit with ASEAN leaders, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang focused on regional cooperation.
A consequence arguably of Duterte’s pivot away from disputes with China and toward economic partnership, as the Philippine President prepared to conclude the year’s chairmanship of ASEAN.
John Sitilides explains the 2017 ASEAN leaders meetings
For more on the ASEAN and what it does, CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke with John Sitilides, global risk analyst with Trilogy Advisors. He specializes in global affairs and American politics.