Duterte to visit Myanmar, Thailand

Indo Asian News Service

Manila, March 16 (IANS) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will pay an official visit to Myanmar and Thailand next week, a government spokesman announced on Thursday.

Foreign Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said that President will visit Myanmar on March 19 to 20, and Thailand on March 20 to 22, Xinhua news agency reported.

"These visits are part of (Duterte's) introductory visits to countries in Southeast Asia," Jose said, adding that the two countries are the only remaining countries that Duterte has not visited in the region since he took office last June.

In Myanmar, Duterte will hold talks with his counterpart U Htin Kyaw and other high level government officials, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

The Philippines and Myanmar established diplomatic ties in 1956. Myanmar is home to about 1,800 Filipinos working mainly in foreign firms and international organisations.

In Thailand, Duterte is scheduled to discuss issues of mutual concern with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, including political, economic, agriculture, energy, education, and defence cooperation.

Jose said that Duterte is also expected to meet some 16,000 Filipinos living and working in Thailand.

Duterte had previously travelled to Bangkok in November last year to pay his last respects to the late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.