According to Malacañang's chief protocol officer Ambassador Marciano Paynor, Trump made the confirmation during his earlier phone call with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte past year. The Philippine Star reported that some 4,000 people are expected to attend the event, though Tiotuico said he wasn't sure whether Chinese President Xi Jinping would come. "Numerous leaders who do not attend do so because of internal issues", although "one or two" leaders may not be able to attend.
Paynor, in a press briefing at the Malacañang Palace yesterday, admitted that they had more time preparing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in 2015 compared to the ASEAN Summit.
Paynor also revealed that even President Duterte realized that it is hard to prepare and host the ASEAN Summit after experiencing it from the other side of the bench.
According to Paynor, organizers expect complete attendance from ASEAN member states at the upcoming summit - which include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. They will return to PICC for the rest of the meetings. "And numerous leaders who do not attend do so because they have internal issues, which prevents them from coming", Mr. Paynor also said.
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He also stressed the need for "fundamental freedom of navigation", and said he and President Donald Trump want to expand economic ties with Indonesia.
"And you wouldn't believe that even as we speak, we are still bidding for suppliers for the subsequent meetings, which ideally all of these should have been finished before the start of the meetings in January", he added.
Paynor elaborated on specific issues Duterte may discuss with Widodo.
"For Indonesia I think it will be a follow-up of what President Duterte and President Widodo had talked about in Jakarta when the President went there for a visit", said Paynor.