Duterte to visit Cambodia, Hong Kong, China

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In a pre-departure briefing, Acting Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said that Duterte will attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Cambodia to make a pitch for his economic agenda, as current chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

More than 700 leaders from business, government, civil society, and the media are expected to participate in the WEF.

"The topics they are expected to discuss include: infrastructure connectivity; economic and trade cooperation; industrial investment; energy and resources; financial support; people-to-people exchanges; ecological and environmental protection; and marine cooperation", Bolivar said.

From Cambodia, the President will fly to Hong Kong on May 11 for a three-day visit.

"The BRF will have 3 parts: the opening ceremony, a ministerial level dialogue where there will be an exchange of views involving participants from government, industries, and research institutes; and a leaders' roundtable to be chaired by [Chinese] President Xi Jinping which will be attended by the heads of state and government and worldwide organizations", said the DFA spokesman. According to the DFA official, there are around 210,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong, working mainly in the hotel and restaurant industry or in the households of Hong Kong residents.

So far, Boliva said the Philippines-China relations have been "steadily improving in all aspects" over the last few years.

From Hong Kong, Duterte will immediately proceed to participate in the Belt and Road Forum (BFR) for International Cooperation where he will join 27 other heads of state and government, as well as heads of three international organizations.

"That's one thing we are trying to work out".

Bolivar said the DFA is trying to work out possible bilateral meetings with China and the 27 other heads of state who are attending the forum.

Bolivar said Duterte will "join 27 other heads of state and government, as well as heads of 3 worldwide organizations" at the BRF.

Bolivar said bilateral meetings between President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders are still being "worked out" on his trip to China.

Bolivar said Duterte might discuss "issues of common concern between the Philippines and China", if he is able to secure a bilateral meet with Xi.

"Anything that can help the Philippines in its economic development is very welcome and we believe that the Belt and Road initiative can be a helpful mechanism for the Philippines to promote its economic interests in the region", Bolivar said.