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Duterte skips Belt and Road gala dinner in Beijing due to migraine

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday skipped the gala dinner prepared by China for visiting world leaders and delegates to the second Belt and Road forum.

Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a text message that the President did not attend the event held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing due to migraine.

Panelo did not say whether Duterte sent a representative to the gala dinner hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Before skipping the dinner, the President had attended the forum’s opening ceremony, delivered a speech at a high-level meeting and witnessed the signing and exchange of 19 trade and investment agreements between the Philippine business delegation and Chinese firms.

Duterte is scheduled to attend several events on Saturday including two high-level roundtable sessions before he returns to the Philippines.

Last November, Duterte drew criticism for missing several meetings during the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Singapore, such as the ASEAN-Australia Informal Breakfast Summit and the gala dinner Singapore hosted for heads of government.

Malacañang said at the time that Duterte needed to take power naps in between meetings in order to recover from lack of sleep.

Days later, the President joined a dialogue with prominent business leaders in the Asia-Pacific region but was noticeably absent from a gala dinner for the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea. — BAP, GMA News