Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returned to the Philippines Sunday to attend the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations and related meetings.
When he landed at Clark airport, a smiling Trudeau waded into a crowd of children gathered to greet dignitaries arriving for the summit, exchanging high fives and waving to others.
The ASEAN summit will give Trudeau an opportunity to advance his trade agenda with the emerging bloc of 10 Southeast Asian countries, which is already Canada’s sixth-largest trading partner.
Combined, the countries boast a market of 640 million people and an expanding middle class. They have been churning out significant economic growth.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the East Asia Summit will give Trudeau a chair at the top security table in the region.
He will sit alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump during discussions on the security situation involving North Korea, she said.
Trudeau is the first sitting Canadian prime minister to participate in the annual East Asia Summit and is the only one who’s ever been invited.
The ASEAN bloc includes the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
During his visit to Manila, he dropped in at an outlet of popular fast food giant Jollibee Foods Corp after a visit to a nearby women’s clinic that advocates family planning, a touchy subject in the Catholic-majority Philippines.
Previously, Trudeau won a Twitter poll with the hashtag #APEChottie that asked people to vote for the most attractive leader at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2015.