Marcos' bilateral meetings in Jakarta: flashback

At a glance

  • Marcos had five bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit.

  • He met with the leaders of Canada, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Cook Islands, and South Korea.

  • He had a brief conversation about the South China Sea with the leaders of Japan and the US.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. concluded his participation in the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits in Indonesia on Sept. 7.

President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. (ASEAN Media Center)
President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. (ASEAN Media Center)

In addition to attending leaders-level summits where he pushed for the country's interests like food security and peace and stability in the region, the President also held five bilateral meetings with other world leaders.

Here is a look back at Marcos' meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown, and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

Meeting with Trudeau

President Marcos' first bilateral meeting was with Prime Minister Trudeau on Sept. 6. The two discussed trade and investments in clean, renewable energy and critical minerals exploration and processing. They also talked about cooperation on agri-science and urban agriculture.

The two leaders likewise tackled Filipinos' emigration in Canada, prompting Marcos to thank Trudeau for Canada's hospitality and vowed to "return the favor" by furthering the relationship between the two countries.

Trudeau invited Marcos to visit Canada next year, in time for the 75th anniversary of establishing its diplomatic relations with the Philippines.

The meeting, however, did not go without a hitch. The Philippine flag displayed during the meeting was inverted— with the color red shown above instead of below. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it was an honest mistake.

Meeting with Cambodia

President Marcos met Prime Minister Manet on Sept. 7, the first of his four bilateral meetings on the last day of the Summit.

Marcos and Manet agreed to foster stronger ties in trade and commerce and people-to-people exchange to ensure food security.

The two leaders likewise agreed to boost commercial aviation between the Philippines and Cambodia. Marcos said his "homework" when he returned to Manila was to talk to local airlines about having more direct flights to Cambodia.

Meeting with Vietnam

President Marcos welcomed Prime Minister Chinh's suggestion for a five-year rice importation arrangement, which the latter said would ensure rice imports from Vietnam. According to Marcos, it would stabilize rice supply and pricing in the Philippines amid volatility in its rice supply.

Chinh said he was likewise hoping that Vietnam and the Philippines would increase cooperation in agriculture and aquaculture and the digital and green economy.

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese Prime Minister raised the possibility of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with other Asian countries on preventing and managing incidents in the South China Sea as tensions in the disputed waters continue.

Meeting with the Cook Islands

Both President Marcos and Prime Minister Brown primarily discussed climate change. They agreed that the issue affects both the Philippines and the Cook Islands, and they are vulnerable due to rising sea levels and more frequent severe typhoons.

With South Korea

President Marcos' last bilateral meeting during the Summit was with South Korean President Yoon. The two leaders witnessed the signing of the Philippines-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which Yoon described as a milestone for enhanced partnership between the two countries.

Yoon also said they were keen on expanding opportunities for overseas Filipino workers in South Korea under their "employment permit system." He expressed his interest in the supply chain of critical materials, allowing the Philippines to shift to a nuclear power plant.

Brief conversation with US and Japan

While not an official meeting, President Marcos had a brief conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and US Vice President Kamala Harris. They talked during the ASEAN Gala Dinner hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo. The DFA said they were initially planning an official trilateral meeting but admitted having difficulty finding the time for it.

Malacañang has yet to give details regarding the meeting, but Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the three leaders the current situation surrounding the South China Sea "and concurred with them to jointly tackle unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force."

They likewise agreed to promote further strengthening coordination among Japan, the US, and the Philippines in various ways.