Washington remains fully committed to Asia though United States President Donald Trump will miss a key regional summit when he visits the Philippines next month, the U.S. ambassador in Manila said on Thursday (Oct 26).
"The President's trip to Asia is extremely lengthy and will be his longest to date - his return to the U.S. on the evening of Nov 13 is entirely schedule-driven", the spokesman said.
Cayetano said Trump is scheduled to visit Manila for a series of regional talks on November 12 and 13 but might skip the East Asia Summit (EAS) on November 14 due to his limited time.
"So not that East Asia Summit is finalized on the 14th [of November], it looks like his Secretary of State would be the one to attend", he added.
"So it would have been great if President Trump could attend all the activities but the reality is any world leader especially of the U.S., cannot spend too many days outside the USA", he added.
The ambassador said Trump and Duterte are expected have an "open and frank" discussion on a full range of important issues but did not directly say if human rights concerns would be raised.
Mr Paynor said Mr Trump would, "in principle", meet with his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte.
The Philippines said yesterday that the EAS would be held in Manila, not Angeles.
He added that analysts who say such an absence indicates Mr Trump is not as interested in engaging Asia as former President Barack Obama was "are misguided".
The White House has announced that Trump would fly to Manila on November 13 for 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit, after his attendance to Apec forum in Danang, Vietnam. This will be the first meeting of the two leaders since their historic elections.
Mr Ian Storey, from the Iseas-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, said the United States president's decision to skip the EAS was "terrible".
Dr Mira Rapp-Hooper, adjunct senior fellow with the Asia-Pacific Security program me at the Centre for a New American Security in Washington, said: "Coming shortly after the 19th Party Congress in China, in which Mr Xi Jinping has further consolidated his power and laid out a vision for China's rise to superpower status, it raises questions about America's long-term commitment to South-east Asia, given that the EAS is the premiere forum".
"First, security - your wealth doesn't matter if you are not safe in your home, work. So security which includes terrorism and drugs, the threat of terrorism and illegal drugs", Cayetano said.