MANILA – US President Donald Trump arrived in Manila on Sunday to take part in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, which is expected to discuss among other issues the North Korean nuclear program and fighting the Islamic State terror organization.
Trump is scheduled to attend a formal dinner before Monday’s summit, which the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte inaugurated on Sunday.
In Vietnam, from where Trump flew aboard the Air Force One, the US leader said taking part in the ASEAN summit was “very special,” and revealed that the threat posed by North Korea would be on the agenda.
Trump is also set to participate in the East Asia Forum on Tuesday, as well as meeting his counterparts, including Duterte.
This is the last stop of Trump’s Asian tour, which also included Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam.
Trump is expected to urge the region’s leaders to back his strategy to put pressure on China to help isolate the North Korean regime until the latter abandons its nuclear weapons program.
Trump will also discuss cooperation with ASEAN countries to fight IS, which is present in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
During his state visit to the Philippines, Trump is also expected to hold meetings with representatives from China, South Korea, Japan, India, the European Union and the United Nations.
Speaking at the summit’s opening, Duterte said, “The South China Sea is better left untouched. Nobody can afford to go to war.”
The negotiations between ASEAN and China over control of the sea – disputed by Beijing and countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia – are expected to be discussed during the summit.