By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated September 03, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (30)
MANILA, Philippines - After his state visit to China, President Aquino is embarking on two more state visits this month, this time to the United States and Japan – the Philippines’ first and second largest trading partners, respectively.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte confirmed to Palace reporters yesterday that Aquino is set to visit Washington and Tokyo this month.
“All in September? I think, yes, all in September,” she said, without providing details.
The President ends his five-day state visit to China today. China is the country’s third largest trading partner.
“I think there are several invitations for consideration also. I will have to get confirmation from DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) because several countries have also extended their invitations to the President. I am not quite sure how the details are being threshed out,” Valte added.
“We can confirm that there is an invitation sent but we have no confirmation yet on whether the President will be accepting,” she said referring to an invitation from US President Barack Obama. Asked about details of the invitation from Tokyo, she said “still no confirmation from the DFA.”
But a source said Aquino’s Japan trip has been set for the first week of October while his US visit is likely to take place between Sept. 20 and 25. The source said Obama sent his invitation shortly before Aquino’s departure for China.
Another source revealed Aquino’s US trip may also include attendance at the UN General Assembly in New York, normally held in September.
Aquino is also scheduled to attend the ASEAN Summit next month in Bali, Indonesia and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in mid-November.
So far, Aquino has visited eight countries since his assumption into office in June 2010.
He was in the US in September last year for the UN General Assembly, in Vietnam for a state visit in October and in Japan for the APEC summit.
He also embarked on state visits to Indonesia and Singapore last March and to Thailand and Brunei in May. He is expected to visit some European countries next year.
Valte said Aquino really has to juggle his official travels because of numerous invitations from heads of state.
“We really have to visit our neighbors. And, of course, being one of the relatively new presidents in the region, our President has been receiving many invitations,” she said.
She said Palace officials have to carefully study each invitation considering the President’s “very hectic schedule.”
Reposted From Delon Porcalla of The Philippine Star