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Duterte meets Bolkiah today

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President Duterte is expected to push for closer Philippine-Brunei relations in his meeting with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah today.

The Sultan of Brunei was due to arrive in Manila last night for a State visit upon the invitation of the Philippine leader.

Bolkiah will be among the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian leaders who will attend the 30th summit and related meetings in Manila this week.

Based on the official Palace schedule, the two leaders will hold bilateral talks in Malacañang and witness the signing of several agreements. A joint statement will also be issued by the two leaders afterwards.

“The two leaders are expected to exchange views on pressing bilateral and regional issues of concern, including matters with respect to peace and security, trade and investments, and ASEAN,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said when asked about the upcoming Duterte-Bolkiah meeting.

The sultan’s visit to the country was meant to reciprocate Duterte’s visit to Brunei last October. Duterte is also expected to host a state banquet for the visiting Brunei Sultan and his delegation in Malacañang.

Prior to the Malacañang visit, the Sultan will offer a wreath at the Rizal Monument at the Luneta Park in Manila this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the President will host another state guest, President Joko Widodo, in Malacañang to further boost the country’s relations with the Asian neighbor tomorrow.

Widodo, accompanied by his wife Iriana, will arrive in Manila tomorrow afternoon. The Indonesian leader is also expected to participate in the ASEAN summit this week.

“For Indonesia, I think it will be a follow-up of what President Duterte and President Widodo had talked about in Jakarta when the President went there for a visit,” former Ambassador Marciano Paynor Jr., director general of the ASEAN-National Organizing Council, said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)

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