Late riser? Duterte leaves hotel past 2pm, to meet only Filipino expats on second day of China visit
Delegation official says he cancelled most of his events, but embassy staff member says he has only one event planned
Visiting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is staying low profile on the second day of his landmark trip to China and will not attend any official event except to meet Filipino expatriates in the evening, according to officials in his delegation.
After making a brief appearance at a Beijing hotel upon his arrival in the Chinese capital on Tuesday night, Duterte has not been seen at any public event.
He was seen leaving the hotel only around 2.10pm on Wednesday, and did not speak to reporters.
Duterte is known for his habit of waking up late, according to previous Philippine media reports.
An official with the Philippine delegation said Duterte had cancelled most of his events except for a dinner with Filipino expats.
A staff member of the Philippine embassy said, however, that the president was enjoying his “free time” in Beijing and that there was no programme scheduled on Wednesday except for the dinner.
“He can take the time to go anywhere he wants. We don’t know his plan,” the embassy staff member said.
Duterte is slated to meet President Xi Jinping on Thursday.
Most of his official meetings are also scheduled on Thursday, but Duterte arrived in the capital on Tuesday night after his trip was expanded to a four-day state visit.
Earlier reports said the Philippine head of state would visit a Beijing drug rehabilitation centre.
His delegation includes some 400 business leaders.
Upon his arrival in Beijing on Tuesday, Duterte said the South China Sea dispute between the two countries was not a topic on his agenda.
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said ahead of Duterte’s arrival that the visit was “historic” and that no “individual” or “foreign force” could stand in the way of rebuilding the friendship between China and the Philippines.
“Our arms are open and ready for friendship and cooperation,” Wang said.
Duterte’s hotel in Beijing, located downtown near Wangfujing commercial street, is under tight security.