Philippine leader lashes out at Trudeau
President says PM’s human-rights questions were a ‘personal and official insult’ and that he will ‘only answer to the Filipino’
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte attacked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the end of a summit of Asian and Western countries for raising questions about his war on drugs, a topic skirted by other leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump.
At the traditional news conference by the host country at the end of the summit on Tuesday, Mr. Duterte was asked how he had responded to the Canadian Prime Minister raising the issue of human rights and extrajudicial killings in his anti-drugs drive.
“I said I will not explain. It is a personal and official insult,” the Philippines President said in the course of a rambling answer, although he did not refer to Mr. Trudeau by name.
“I only answer to the Filipino. I will not answer to any other bullshit, especially foreigners. Lay off.”
Earlier in the day, Mr. Trudeau told a news conference that during his meeting with Mr. Duterte, “the President was receptive to my comments and it was throughout a very cordial and positive exchange.”
Human-rights activists had been hoping that leaders at the summit, including Mr. Trump, would raise the issue of the thousands of users and small-time pushers killed in the campaign that was launched by Mr. Duterte after he took office in mid-2016.
His government says the police act in self-defense during drug busts, but critics say executions are taking place with no accountability.
There was no pressure from Mr. Trump on the drugs war when he met Mr. Duterte on Monday, and the U.S. President later said the two had a “great relationship.”
A joint statement after the meeting only said the two sides “underscored that human rights and the dignity of human life are essential, and agreed to continue mainstreaming the human-rights agenda in their national programs.”
Mr. Trudeau also said that he raised the issue of the exodus of Rohingya during a meeting with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, another sensitive topic bypassed by most other leaders, although he did not mention the Muslim minority by name.
“This is a tremendous concern to Canada and to many, many countries around the world,” he said.
The government in mostly Buddhist Myanmar regards the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and does not recognize the term.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to refugee camps in Bangladesh since military clearance operations were launched in response to attacks by Rohingya militants on Aug. 25.
Mr. Duterte reported that China had agreed at the summit to work on a code of conduct in the South China Sea with ASEAN countries to ease tensions over disputed claims to the busy and resource-rich waterway.
The group also signed agreements on protecting migrant labour and fighting terrorism and cybercrime.
Mr. Trump skipped the plenary session of the summit because of scheduling delays, but he said his marathon trip to Asia had been a “tremendous” success.
He told reporters on Air Force One that he had delivered his prepared remarks during a lunch before the summit meeting.
Mr. Trump said at least $300-billion (U.S.), possibly triple that figure, of deals had been agreed in the trip. He did not elaborate.
“We’ve explained that the United States is open for trade but we want reciprocal, we want fair trade for the United States,” he said.
Trade and concern about possible protectionism under Mr. Trump’s “America First” agenda have come up during his visit to the region, which included stops in Japan, South Korea, China and Vietnam before concluding in the Philippines.
After Mr. Trump left Manila, a group of Asia-Pacific countries pursuing a separate Beijing-backed trade deal that does not include the United States agreed to “intensify efforts” in 2018 to bring their negotiations to a conclusion.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) appeared to have been given new impetus at the summit by Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, to which China is not party.
The two trade deals are not mutually exclusive.
ASEAN is joined in the RCEP talks by China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, left, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila on Tuesday.