Duterte may be 'persuaded' to fly to US for leaders' summit: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2020 02:09 PM | Updated as of Jan 21 2020 02:54 PM

US President Donald Trump talks with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during the gala dinner marking ASEAN's 50th anniversary in Manila, in this November 12, 2017 photo. Jonathan Ernst, Reuters/File

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte may be swayed into visiting the United States for a leaders' summit in March, his spokesman said Tuesday.

The White House invited Duterte and other Southeast Asian leaders to attend a summit between the US and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on March 4 in Las Vegas.

Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Philippine leader might visit the US for the summit but did not commit to anything yet. The President has several times said he would never set foot on American soil. 

"Given this is an ASEAN meeting of leaders, baka ma-persuade ang Presidente na umattend," Panelo said.

(The President may be persuaded to attend.)

Duterte has long been invited by Trump to visit the United States.

In 2016, then presidential aide and now Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go revealed Trump called Duterte and invited him to the White House.

In 2017, the White House again invited Duterte "to discuss the importance of the United States-Philippines alliance."

Duterte has repeatedly said he would never visit the United States during his presidency but has never issued a formal statement on the matter.