The Ayungin Shoal Incident will serve as the backdrop for the Philippines’s participation in the ASEAN-China Special Summit on Nov. 22.
This, after Malacañang confirmed in a statement on Saturday night, Nov. 20, President Duterte’s participation in the event, which would commemorate the 30th anniversary of dialogue relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and regional power China.
Duterte will join the proceedings virtually via video conference.
“Upon the invitation of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, the President will join his ASEAN counterparts to take stock of the achievements of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations over the past three decades and chart the future of the partnership for the next 30 years,” read the Palace statement.
The special summit will be co-chaired by President Xi and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam, the ASEAN chair-country for 2021.
“President Duterte is expected to articulate Philippine positions on key areas of cooperation and regional issues,” Malacañang said.
It was only last Nov. 16 when three Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and fired water cannons on two Philippine boats transporting supplies to military personnel in Ayungin Shoal. Ayungin is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The Philippine Department of Foreign (DFA) protested the action, relaying its “outrage, condemnation, and protest” against what it called the “illegal” acts of the Chinese Coast Guard.
But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian maintained that the two Philippine supply boats “trespassed” into Chinese waters “without China’s consent”.
Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said on Friday that the Philippines had no plans of abandoning its manned outpost in Ayungin despite the incident.
For the ASEAN-China Special Summit, Duterte will be joined by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, Presidential Assistant for Foreign Affairs Robert E.A. Borje, and Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary Luzviminda Ilagan.
Click here to read what the Philippine leader said during the 24th ASEAN-China Summit, which was held late last month.