Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Timor-Leste president to tackle political, educ, economic ties

2023 November 8

STATE VISIT. Timor-Leste President José Ramos-Horta (left) arrives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City on Wednesday (Nov. 8, 2023) for a state visit. He is set to meet with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Friday (Nov. 10).

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Timor-Leste President José Ramos-Horta are scheduled to meet Friday to discuss Manila and Dili’s technical, political, educational, and economic partnerships, Malacañang said Wednesday.

In a statement, Communication Secretary Cheloy Garafil said Marcos and Ramos-Horta would hold a bilateral meeting at Malacañan Palace in Manila.

“During the state visit, President Marcos is set to discuss with Ramos-Horta various areas of cooperation between the two nations, such as technical, political, educational, and economic partnerships,” Garafil said.

She said officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Justice, Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development would be present during the two leaders’ meeting.

Ramos-Horta arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City at about 2 p.m. Wednesday.

He was welcomed by Philippine Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Belinda Ante and Manila International Airport Authority Assistant General Manager Manuel Gonzales.

His official visit is aimed at further strengthening Timor-Leste’s bilateral relations with the Philippines.

The Philippines and Timor-Leste formally established their diplomatic relations on May 20, 2002.

Timor-Leste joined as an observer during the 42nd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Indonesia in May.

During the summit, Southeast Asian leaders adopted a roadmap for Timor-Leste’s full membership, after the conditional approval of its bid to become the regional bloc’s 11th member.

To be granted full membership, Timor-Leste must fulfill various agreements in the political, security, economic, and socio-cultural aspects.

Marcos earlier expressed support for Timor-Leste as it moves towards becoming a democratic state and eventually becoming an ASEAN member state.

Ramos-Horta earlier said Timor-Leste would “ideally” become a full-fledged ASEAN member in 2025 even though the country remains open to other time frames recommended by other Southeast Asian leaders.

Aside from the Philippines, the ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)