WAS it a ploy to snub US President Barack Obama?
Malacanang however insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte was sick and had to skip the gala dinner hosted by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on Saturday night (Sunday morning PHL time).
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said Duterte missed the gala dinner because he was not feeling well.
The gala dinner was scheduled at 7:15 p.m. Peru time at the Parque de la Reserva.
Earlier in the day Duterte had bilateral meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Duterte had said on November 11 that he was thinking of skipping the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Peru because “it’s a long way across the globe.”
Prior the APEC summit,, Malacañang said Duterte had to skip a one-on-one interview with TV host Kris Aquino due to migraine.
The Palace had said that Duterte’s several trips abroad since September had taken its toll on the chief executive’s health.
At the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos, Duterte also skipped a number of scheduled bilateral meetings because he was not feeling well.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay attended the dinner on the President’s behalf.
The dinner in Lima could have been an opportunity for Duterte to hold conversations with other APEC leaders including Obama outside pre- APEC engagements.