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President Duterte hosts Gala Dinner for Asean Leaders, Dialogue Partners

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday hosted a gala dinner for the leaders of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their dialogue partners at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Duterte welcomed the 20 world leaders attending the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings in the country, saying he was deeply honored to host this rare occasion in celebration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.

Present were Premier Li Keqiang, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith,

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, European Council President Donald Tusk, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak,

New Zealand Prime  Minister Jacinda Ardern, South Korea President Moon Jae-in, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“Throughout our Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017, the Philippines has been guided by the theme ‘Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,’ which captures ASEAN’s resolve to effect positive change in the lives of our peoples and assert our position in the global economy,” Duterte said.

“Beyond our regional borders, we, as ASEAN citizens, are steadfast in building an ASEAN Community that is united by [our] shared history, values, and aspirations. We continue to harmonize the three pillars of the ASEAN Community by strengthening economic integration and building a common identity while embracing our uniqueness and diversity,” he added.

The President said ASEAN countries would continue to engage the world, having established meaningful and constructive engagements with external partners anchored on ASEAN centrality.

As one of the founding members of ASEAN, the Philippines has witnessed and contributed to the development of regional economic bloc into a dynamic organization that it is now,  he further said.

The Chief Executive said he was looking forward to having constructive and substantive discussions with the leaders in their upcoming meetings. #