Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte set to visit New Zealand

Rodrigo Duterte. Photo / AP
Rodrigo Duterte. Photo / AP

The Philippines' president Rodrigo Duterte is set to visit New Zealand on his way to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru this week.

Philippine deputy Cabinet secretary Peter Tiu Lavina acknowledged the possibility of a New Zealand visit in a Facebook post outlining Duterte's recent travel movements.

"He may stop over in New Zealand to extend our vigorous efforts to build friendship among nations down to the south Pacific region," the post read.

International media have reported Duterte could be taking an unusual route to Peru's APEC summit - a pit stop in New Zealand - to avoid landing in the United States.

US-based news site Quartz reported all Filipino press would be flying the traditional route to the summit, with a stop over in Los Angeles - the shorter route and typical transit between Manila and Peru.

Duterte has publicly expressed his distaste for the US.

Last month on a state visit to Beijing, China he announced a "separation from the United States" and questioned why Americans had such easy access to the Philippines when Filipino's were often denied visas.

Leo Lim-Herrera, an official in the Philippines foreign affairs department, told Quartz "technical matters, like the capacity of the plane and fuel storage," were the reasons Duterte was taking the unusual route to the summit.

This year's annual APEC meeting will be held from November 19-20 in Lima, Peru.

- NZ Herald

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