LIMA, Peru – President Duterte skipped two important events at the Asia-Pacific Economic Leaders’ Cooperation summit here over the weekend.
Citing jet lag, Duterte skipped what would have been his first traditional APEC family photo of heads of state Sunday. Leaders of the 21 APEC member economies issued the 2016 APEC Economic Leaders’ Declaration on that day.
Duterte also skipped the APEC gala dinner hosted by Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Saturday because he was not feeling well.
The former Davao City Mayor was represented in the APEC family photo by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. The APEC Economic Leaders’ family photo is a tradition at every APEC summit meant to show solidarity among the member economies.
Duterte also did not attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Retreats, where heads of state divide themselves into smaller groups to facilitate discussion, earlier in the day.
The retreats are typically opportunities for leaders to freely discuss among themselves the topic set for the session.
Duterte said the summit was a “productive one, very informative for me being a first-timer in this kind of meeting.”
He met his “idol” Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time in the sidelines of the summit. He also met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the gathering a few weeks after his state visit to China.
Duterte flew all the way from Manila for more than 20 hours, making him lightheaded. Known for being nocturnal, the 71-year-old President said he could not stand falling asleep at the convention of the “greats” and decided to go back to his room to sleep. (Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat)