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Duterte hails Papua New Guinea for successful hosting of APEC

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte greets Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill as he arrives for the APEC Summit, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea November 17, 2018. David Gray, Reuters

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday commended Papua New Guinea for successfully hosting the 26th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte "personally commended his good friend" Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O' Neill for hosting the annual event.

"(Duterte) likewise expressed his gratitude for the warmth and hospitality the Prime Minister and his people extended to the President and the rest of the Philippine delegation," he said.

Panelo said Duterte had a "fruitful and productive" participation, having meetings with the APEC Business Advisory Council, leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum, and the International Monetary Fund.

Duterte also affirmed his commitment to continuously take part in and contribute to the forum, emphasizing the Philippines' trade relationship with APEC countries. 

"We are enthusiastic to say that this trip not only benefited our country today but also its overall economy in the following years," Panelo said. 

Malacañang earlier said Duterte was supposed to cut short his APEC trip and fly back to the Philippines on Saturday night, without giving any particular reason.

But Duterte, who was not seen at the gala dinner on Saturday, pushed through with the original schedule and attended the second day of the APEC Summit. 

On Sunday, leaders of the APEC nations, for the first time in history of the summit, failed to agree on a formal written declaration amid sharp differences over trade policy. 

The summit was earlier overshadowed by speeches from Chinese President Xi Jinping and US Vice President Mike Pence, which appeared to represent competing bids for regional leadership.

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