MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the ASEAN Summit in Thailand this week, where he is expected to talk about the long-delayed code of conduct in the South China Sea, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.
This after ASEAN member-states committed to “exercise self-restraint” in the conduct of activities in the disputed waters and to “avoid actions that may further complicate the situation" earlier this year.
"The President is expected to say something about it," DFA Assistant Secretary Junever Mahilum-West said in a press briefing.
Malacañang in August revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Duterte that Beijing wants a binding code of conduct crafted before the Philippine leader steps down in 2022.
President Duterte will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, and Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista when he travels to Thailand on Nov. 1.
Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Robert Borje said Duterte's partner, Honeylet Avanceña, will join the spouses' program during the ASEAN Summit.
ON POSSIBLE ABSENCES
Following President Duterte's motorcycle mishap and "unbearable" pain in the spine, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said there must be changes in the "spacing" of the chief executive's activities in the summit.
“‘Yung spacing medyo babaguhin natin kasi nga punishing masyado," Panelo said last Friday.
(The spacing of activities will be adjusted because his schedule is too punishing)
Borje said the Philippine delegation so far, is working on the assumption that President Duterte would attend all of the summits and events in the regional bloc's event in Thailand.
"We are prepared for all of the meetings," Borje said.
However, in the event that President Duterte decides to skip a meeting, Borje said Locsin would represent the Philippines instead.
Doctors last week advised the 74-year-old Duterte to rest and take pain relievers for muscle spasms which supposedly caused his back pain.