PM Turnbull of Australia, key ally in Marawi siege, flies in via Clark for ASEAN

November 12, 2017 - 5:04 PM
Australian PM Turnbull waves to welcomers as he arrives Sunday for the ASEAN summit and related meetings. PHOTO BY MONG PINTOLO, PHILSTAR

CLARK FIELD, Philippines – (UPDATED) Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s plane landed at 4:18 p.m. Sunday at Clark International Airport, where most of the world leaders attending the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits touched down before proceeding to Manila for the main events.

He was welcomed by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Ernesto Pernia.

Australia, one of the key partners of the Southeast Asian regional bloc, gave $20 million worth of assistance to the Philippines last August for civilians affected by the Marawi siege. Australian forces had also provided surveillance support through an Australian spy plane to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during the siege.

Turnbull was one of 20 leaders confirmed to attend the various summits this week in Manila — an attendance that signifies “deep and strong bonds” between the bloc and its dialogue partners, a PNA report quoted an official as saying.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said earlier these leaders would cover a whole range of issues of common concern, including trade and investment facilitation, innovation, connectivity and strengthening the ASEAN community as a model of regional integration.

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