MANILA – Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first official travel abroad could be to Southeast Asia only, possibly Indonesia or Singapore.
Romualdez said many Philippine partners have sent invitations for Marcos to visit their states, including the United States, China, and the European Union, but the President seems inclined to travel first in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.”
“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is recommending that he goes to Indonesia and Singapore, which of course, have invited the President so he may go to those countries first,” he added.
Philippine and Indonesian relations involve various high-level engagements in various fields, including maritime security and counter-terrorism.
Early this month, the two countries also laid the groundwork for the delimitation of their continental shelf boundary in the Celebes Sea, a declared priority by both of them.
The DFA said the maritime boundary delimitation between the world’s two largest archipelagic states is a significant state practice on delimitation and contributes to the development of international law, particularly the law of the sea.
Romualdez said Marcos also wanted to be more active in Asean affairs and has expressed interest in playing a “major role” in getting the 10-member bloc together.
“In fact, I can tell you that he’s had conversations with Prime Minister Lee (Hsien Loong) of Singapore even before his inauguration and they both agree that Asean will be the forum to strengthen our part of the world and be ready to talk to China, the US, the EU on how we can conduct ourselves in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.