And then there were 5: Thai PM’s arrival completes attendance of ASEAN founding states

November 12, 2017 - 2:48 PM
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Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives at a weekly cabinet meeting at Government House in Bangkok, May 2, 2017. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

CLARK FIELD, Philippines – Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha arrived at Clark International Airport at half past 2pm Sunday, completing the representation of ASEAN’s five founding states at this week’s 31st Summit and related events, and a glittering 50th founding anniversary celebration for the regional bloc.

Besides Thailand and host country Philippines, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was founded in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, and Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong arrived one after the other earlier on Sunday, also at the international airport in this former US military base.

Chan-o-cha and Thai First Lady Naraporn were welcomed by Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

The leaders are separately being ferried by land from Pampanga province north of Metro Manila to the capital region about an hour’s drive away, for the main summit of the 10 ASEAN members and the separate bilateral summits of the bloc with dialogue partners led by the US. The East Asia Summit is also slated during ASEAN week.

The heads of state and government of the ASEAN members and the regional bloc’s dialogue partners including US President Donald Trump, will be feted at a gala dinner hosted by President Rodrigo Duterte Sunday night, to mark the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.- with a report by Camille Aguinaldo, InterAksyon