Trump skipping East Asian Summit but Cayetano says it’s ‘normal’

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U.S. President Donald Trump descends from Air Force One. (Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines — U.S. President Donald Trump will be attending two major summits next month — the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila — but will be skipping the East Asia Summit in Clark Field.

This was confirmed Wednesday, October 25 by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano who said that he had been informed in his recent visit to the U.S. for the United National General Assembly that Trump could only stay for the November 12-13 ASEAN Summit.

The East Asian Summit opens on the 14th. Although this is yet to be confirmed, Cayetano said U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis might represent his country.

Trump, Cayetano explained, “cannot extend another day because mahaba na ‘yung trip niya (his trip’s already long). Having said that, (skipping the EAS) it’s normal.”

“It would have been great if President Trump can attend all the activities but the reality is, any world leader, especially (that of) the United States, cannot spend too (many) days outside the (country),” he said.

“You can’t really attend everything … So the main signal is him coming here” to indicate the enduring friendship and alliance between the Philippines and U.S., Cayetano added.

At the same time, he said they are still working on possible bilateral talks between Trump and Duterte on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, which he said both countries wish to take place.