By Joyce Pangco Panares | Aug. 31, 2013 at 12:02am
United States President Barack Obama will visit the Southeast Asian region soon, possibly including the Philippines, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters on Friday.
Hagel made the announcement after his meeting with President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang.
“I spoke with the President and he is very much looking forward to his trip to Southeast Asia, and I know that the White House is preparing for that and his meetings,” Hagel said.
“There is a lot to discuss...As much as I know, President Obama is looking forward to his upcoming visit.”
Hagel said he would leave it to the White House to announce the details of the visit.
So far, Obama’s confirmed trips to the region in October are as follows: to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Bali, to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings
in Brunei, and to the 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
Aquino will also be attending the Apec and Asean meetings.
Last year, after his re-election, Obama visited Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Hagel said he was happy to return to the Philippines. He has been visiting the Philippines since the late 1980s, when he was still a senator.
“I first learned about the Philippines when my father, who was here during World War II, spent some time in Clark Air Field. He was a radio operator, a tail gunner on a B-25, and had many, many pictures of his experience here,” Hagel said. “He loved the Filipino people; he loved this country.”
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