Washington fully maintains its commitments to Asia, although President Donald Trump will not attend an East Asian summit when he visits the Philippines next month, the US ambassador to Manila said Thursday.

Ambassador Sung Kim told reporters that Trump will not attend the summit due to his agenda but will meet with 10 Southeast Asian leaders and separately with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

A US delegation will attend the summit of a dozen Asian nations in addition to Australia, New Zealand and Russia, the White House said Tuesday without giving a reason for Trump’s absence.

“For very important reasons, President Trump must be in Washington on the 14th, so he will not be able to participate in the summit of East Asia,” Kim explained.

According to the diplomat, “they are wrong” analysts who say that Donald Trump is not as interested as his predecessor Barack Obama in relations with Asia.

“We have said very clearly that the United States is fully committed to the Asia-Pacific region,” Kim told reporters, adding that “it is in our best interests to maintain a close relationship” with the region.

The ambassador said that President Trump and Duterte plan to hold a “open and frank” discussion on a range of important issues, but did not clarify whether they include human rights.


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