Thursday, 28 July 2016

Philippines President Duterte gets 4 Ex Presidents to Set Aside Differences and gather for National Security Meeting.

Duterte gathers 4 ex-presidents at security council meet
(The Philippine Star) |

UNITED BY A DISPUTE: President Duterte poses with former presidents Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Fidel Ramos and Benigno Aquino III before the National Security Council meeting at Malacañang yesterday. Duterte gathered four past presidents, most of whom have been politically at odds with one another, to discuss a unifying worry – the maritime dispute with China.

MANILA, Philippines – A maritime dispute with China has made four former presidents set aside their differences and sit down to discuss the best tack for resolving the issue.

President Duterte yesterday convened the National Security Council with four former chief executives in attendance, along with congressional leaders and members of the Cabinet.

Former presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III attended the meeting held at the Aguinaldo State Dining Hall in Malacañang.

He gathered the four past presidents, most of whom have been politically at odds with one another, to discuss a unifying worry: the country’s territorial dispute with China.

Duterte convened the NSC mainly to discuss the government’s strategy in negotiating with China a resolution to the long-seething South China Sea conflict, officials said.

Photos provided by Malacañang showed Aquino and Arroyo two seats apart, in between were Estrada and Ramos.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

While Duterte welcomed his predecessors, Aquino notably ignored Arroyo, only shaking hands with Duterte and Ramos, who was standing on the President’s left. Arroyo was seated on Duterte’s right side.

Inviting former presidents to the council’s meetings is traditional, but the gathering was a rare show of unity among them.

Duterte convened the NSC to get inputs and opinions from stakeholders regarding the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling recognizing the country’s territorial rights over portions of the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea.

An official who attended the meeting said “it’s about West Philippine Sea,” but refused to elaborate on the agenda, citing national security.

The meeting lasted more than four hours. The NSC discussed the approaches the Philippines could take with regards to China against a backdrop of the ruling that may affect trade relations, tourism and other issues with Beijing.

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