Philippine President Duterte visits Myanmar

Wera Moe Nay

Philippine President Duterte arrived for a two-day visit to Myanmar, landing at the international airport of Nay Pyi Taw, by flight on March 19.

The Philippine goodwill delegation led by President Duterte was cordially welcomed at the international airport by Union Ministers Dr Pe Myint, Dr Aung Thu, Deputy Ministers Maj-Gen Aung Soe, Kyaw Tin, Philippine Ambassador to Myanmar Alex Chua, Defense and Armed Forces Attache Colonel Edgardo De Leon, and Myanmar officials.

President Duterte held private meetings with the members of the associationof Myanmar-based Philippine businessmen and the Philippine community at Horizon Lake View Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw. During his two-day goodwill visit, he will be staying only in Nay Pyi Taw, and he has no plan to visit Yangon.

President Duterte, who famously cracked down on drug dealers and users and who is renowned for his rude words, took office on June 30 in 2016. He paid first-ever visits to Laos and Indonesia in September. During his presidential term, he greatly changed external policies; prolonged military cooperation with the United States of America was trimmed down. During his visit to China, he said he would stand separately from the US in the military and economic aspects.

During the Asean Summit held in Laos, President Obama canceled a meeting with Duterte, the hardline president of the Philippines after he called him a 'son of a bitch' during the Asean Summit held in Laos. Therefore, the US and the Philippine experienced tense relations, but later Duterte apologized to Obama.

Duterte has visited other Asean countries, Japan, China and Peru during his presidential tenure but has not yet planned to visit the US.

Translated by Win Htut