More world leaders invite Aquino

September 23, 2010 10:26 am 

MANILA, Sept. 22 — President Benigno S. Aquino III has yet to finish his official schedules in the United States but already invitations are pouring for him to visit other nations.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, in an interview Tuesday night in New York, said leaders of several countries including China want to cement their relations with the Philippines.

Romulo said a representative from China extended the invitation to President Aquino.

“There are invitations to him everywhere. But like he said, in accordance with tradition he will visit the Association of Southeast Asian nations first, which is in Hanoi for the regional ASEAN summit,” he said.

Expected to be discussed in President’s Aquino’s expected meeting with US President Barack Obama, according to Romulo, is the Asean US agenda pertaining to the regions and the continuation of the ASEAN-US Summit.

It should also tackle, he said, the Eminent Persons Group by which each country to the US would name an eminent person to discuss further how the ASEAN-US will continue to proceed as an important grouping.

The Philippines has been the coordinator of the ASEAN-US summit meetings since last year and will continue to do so until next year, he said.

Romulo said the meeting between President Aquino and President Obama will tackle future agenda in the Philippines’ role of coordinator, and the topics will be up for ASEAN members to agree on. The ASEAN chair now is Vietnam and the US and next year it will be Indonesia and the US.

According to Romulo, issues common to ASEAN and the US include the declaration of conduct in the South China Sea, of which there is a declaration between the Asean-10 and China.

Asked why the President was not scheduled to be among the first four speakers at the UN General Assembly, Romulo said “we have arranged it as such because he has so many other meetings to attend to. The first speaker is always Brazil then the United States then the country of the president of the General Assembly, Romulo explained. (PNA)

LOR/PCOO/ssc

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