Duterte declines Trump invitation to US-Asean summit

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech after leading the distribution of benefits to former rebels at the San Isidro Central School in Leyte on January 23, 2020. VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has turned down the invitation of United Stated President Donald Trump for him to attend the US-Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) summit this March in the United States.

In an interview with Russia’s state-owned media outlet RT on Thursday night, President Duterte said that he will not attend the summit.

“I just received an invitation to go to the United States together with the ASEAN leaders. I haven’t been to the States,” the President said. “I won’t travel to the United States.”

President Duterte has brought up anew in the interview his sentiments against former US President Barack Obama, who have raised concerns about the Philippines’ deadly campaign against illegal drugs.

“He should have realized I was head of a sovereign state. He should have criticized me in the proper venue. He should have brought up the case to the United Nations, rather than castigate a president of another country in a press con,” Duterte said.

Trump invited Duterte and nine other ASEAN leaders to visit Las Vegas for the US-ASEAN summit on March 14.

The invitations were first conveyed during the ASEAN-US meeting at the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok last November and reiterated through a letter dated Jan. 9./PN

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