THE WHITE House has invited President Rodrigo R. Duterte to the upcoming United States-Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in March, the presidential palace said on Sunday.

“This will provide an excellent opportunity for us to broaden and deepen our cooperation on matters of great importance to the nearly one billion in the United States and ASEAN nations that we have the privilege to represent,” according to a copy of a letter signed by US President Donald Trump on Jan. 9.

Malacañang in December said it would ban several US lawmakers for seeking to bar Philippine officials behind the detention of Senator Leila M. de Lima, who is a staunch Duterte critic.

National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien will serve as Mr. Trump’s special envoy at the summit, which will be held in Las Vegas on March 14. — Gillian M. Cortez