MANILA, Philippines, November 20 ------ President Duterte joins other world leaders including United States President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) virtual summit tonight. The leaders of the 21 APEC nations are expected to tackle the policy direction for the region in the face of the health and economic crises spawned by the coronavirus pandemic. Malaysia is this year’s summit host.
APEC economies also include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Duterte will engage world leaders through digital teleconference from the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang. It will be Trump’s last time to represent the US in the APEC summit. He lost his reelection bid to former vice president Joe Biden.
The APEC leaders shall start their digital teleconference at 8 p.m. tonight after which three more sessions will be held followed by a virtual family photo session. World leaders usually don their national costume during group photo sessions. With the prevailing pandemic, APEC organizers decided to forgo tradition in deference to global protocol on physical distancing. It’s not clear how the virtual group photo would be done.