Cayetano confirms Duterte, Trump bilateral meeting in November

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 25) — Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano confirmed President Rodrigo Duterte and U.S. President Donald Trump will hold a bilateral meeting this November.

"There's a possibility that we will explore bilateral agreement," Cayetano said Wednesday at the turnover ceremony of Russian military equipment to the Philippines. "How to better trade between the two countries, how to get more Filipino goods into the U.S. and how to also support the U.S. economy by us contributing also."

Cayetano said the bilateral talks will also likely tackle the administration's "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program, as well as economic cooperation and security.

Although he did not give the date of the meeting, Cayetano said Trump will be in the Philippines on November 12 and 13 for the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings in Clark, Pampanga.

However, Cayetano said Trump will not be able to join the ASEAN-East Asia Summit (EAS) scheduled on November 14.

The ASEAN-EAS includes the 10 ASEAN Member States along with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

"The decision was really that he will be here on the 12 and the 13th," Cayetano said. "Kung tuloy na 14 yung EAS, he cannot extend another day because mahaba na yung trip niya."

[Translation: If the EAS will push through on the 14th, he cannot extend another day because he has a long trip.]

Even if Trump is skipping the EAS, Cayetano said the bilateral meeting should be considered as a "strong message of friendship and cooperation" from the U.S.

Cayetano said Trump's schedule is packed with trips to other Asian countries and visits related to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Related: Trump visiting PH, Asia in November for summits

Malacañang in September said Duterte is looking forward to welcoming Trump.

It will be the highly anticipated first meeting between the two leaders who are often compared to each other for their tough talk and controversial statements.

In a phone call in December 2016 to congratulate Trump on his win, President Duterte invited then President-elect Trump to the ASEAN Summit.

The White House had said Trump's visits to countries it considers allies and partners will highlight North Korea's repeated threats to launch a nuclear attack.