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Trump visiting PH for summit in November

United States President Donald Trump is eager to visit Manila this November to further advance the alliance between the United States and the Philippines.

Trump affirmed his interest to work alongside President Duterte and attend the upcoming East Asia Summit in the country during their phone conversation last Saturday night. It was the US leader who initiated the phone call to Duterte at the sidelines of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations summit.

“The ambit of the conversation between the two leaders includes the expression of commitment of US President Trump to the PH-US alliance and his interest in developing a warm, working relationship with President Duterte,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

“President Trump likewise mentioned that he looks forward to his visit to the Philippines in November for the East Asia Summit,” Abella added.

The Philippines is set to host the EAS, a regional leaders’ forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on issues and challenges facing the East Asia region, this November. Apart from the 10-member ASEAN, the EAS membership includes Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United States, and Russia.

Prior to his phone conversation with Trump, Duterte has urged the United States to exercise restraint and avoid going into war after North Korea’s latest missile test.

Duterte cautioned that one miscalculation would be a “catastrophe” with Asia becoming the “first victim” of a nuclear war. “Everybody is worried,” he said in a press conference at the end of the ASEAN summit last Saturday night.

Duterte said he intends to urge Trump “not to play into the hands” of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. He said the US must be prudent and patient in dealing with the North Korean conflict.

“There seems to be two countries playing with their toys, and those toys are not really to entertain. And we have to caution everybody, including those who would give the advice to the two power players – because here there are nuclear warheads – to just show restraint,” he said.

“Who am I to say you should stop but I would just say Mr. President please see to it that there’s no war because my region will suffer immensely,” Duterte said.

North Korea has launched a series of ballistic missile tests, further raising the tension in the Korean peninsula.

Trump earlier threatened to act unilaterally to restrain North Korea’s nuclear weapons program if China won’t do anything to help improve the situation. A massive US aircraft carrier has been deployed off the Korean peninsula. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)