Jokowi arrives at Clark Air Base ahead of ASEAN meetings
The Jakarta Post
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has arrived in the Philippines to attend the 31st ASEAN Summit and related meetings, after leaving the APEC Leaders' Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, earlier that morning.
The President arrived midday on Sunday aboard the presidential airplane at the Clark Air Base in the Pampanga region, just hours ahead of his engagements in Manila.
He was greeted by a band of energetic dancers clad in plant-themed attire, a marching band playing the samba tune and Filipino children holding umbrellas and placards spelling out "H.E. Joko Widodo" and "Mabuhay," the word for "welcome" in the local language.
A red carpet was rolled out before Jokowi and First Lady Iriana Widodo as they stepped out of the jet. The President wore his usual navy suit and red tie, while his wife dazzled in a bronze kebaya with a matching navy-speckled batik scarf and long skirt.
The President received a military greeting before he was escorted to his vehicle, with the motorcade embarking on a 1.5-hour trip to the Diamond Hotel in Manila, where he will be staying.
He arrived in Manila at 2:30 p.m. and was greeted by Consul General Berlian Napitupulu and his wife, Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Maria Isleta, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto, Coordinating Economic Affairs Minister Darmin Nasution, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Investment Coordinating Board chief Thomas Lembong.
He was also greeted by 89-year-old Andy Tabursala, an Indonesian furniture businessman who has been based in the Philippines for close to three decades.
The President will be briefed by Retno before he is expected to hold bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is staying at the same hotel.
Later in the evening, the President and the First Lady will attend a special gala dinner in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN at the SMC Convention Center in Manila.
Jokowi is then expected to attend the East Asia Summit leaders' retreat later that night.
During the 31st ASEAN Summit, Indonesia will seek to increase inter-ASEAN cooperation as well as cooperation with its many dialogue partners.
"My hope is that this working visit will be able to bring tangible benefits to all the people of Indonesia, as well as those in ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific," the President said ahead of his departure from Vietnam earlier that day. (ahw)
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