Marcos seen to hold bilateral talks with at least four leaders at ASEAN summit

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 31) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is expected to have one-on-one meetings with “several” of his counterparts at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related meetings in Indonesia next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.

Assistant Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Daniel Espiritu said talks may be held with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, Timor-Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

“There are others, but I cannot confirm at this point yet the others because they're still being arranged,” he told reporters in a briefing.

The 43rd ASEAN Summit will take place in Jakarta on Sept. 5-7. It is the second summit of the regional bloc this year. The first was in the Indonesian town of Labuan Bajo in May.

Espiritu said the president's meeting with the prime minister of Vietnam is seen to focus on rice and food security cooperation, among other strategic partnerships.

On Timor-Leste, the DFA official said Marcos will congratulate Gusmao on his assumption as prime minister in July, and assure him of the Philippines’ willingness to work with his country, “especially in their preparation for final membership in ASEAN.”

Marcos will also congratulate the newly appointed Cambodian prime minister and will be discussing “matters of legal concern” between the two countries, Espiritu added.

Meanwhile, the president will be discussing with his South Korean counterpart new areas of cooperation in time for the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

“At the same time, we'll be thanking also Korea for its support for the Philippines in terms of the assistance that they gave during Typhoon Egay, around $300,000 (around P17 million). Also, they intend to donate, under the ASEAN Plus Three Rice Reserve arrangement, a total of 750 metric tons of rice to the Philippines. Four hundred (metric tons) of that are already in the pipeline,” Espiritu said.

The official also noted that during the summit, Marcos intends to highlight his administration’s goals of strengthening food and energy security, harnessing the potential of the digital and creative industries and of small local businesses, addressing the impact of climate change, and enhancing protection of migrant workers, among others.