Bush to visit Philippines ahead of Apec Summit

MANILA: US President George W. Bush is to make an eight-hour visit to the Philippines on Oct 18 as part of an Asian swing, Foreign Secretary Blas Ople said yesterday. 

Bush is due to fly to the former US air force base of Clark, north of Manila, and hold talks with President Gloria Arroyo at Malacanang palace with the war on terrorism expected to be high on the agenda, Ople told a news conference. 

The president would also attend a state dinner at the palace and address US businessmen, Ople said. 

“The fight against terrorism will occupy the major part of the agenda and then of course the US aid for peace and development will be a conspicuous concern in the agenda,” Ople said. 

After Manila, Bush will fly to Thailand to attend a summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum in Bangkok.  

He will also visit Indonesia and Australia. 

Bush's advance security is already in the Philippines, foreign department officials said earlier yesterday. 

The team is “looking into locations on-site, (for) security purposes,” said Philippine foreign affairs spokesman Julia Heidemann said.– AFP  

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