Duterte fight­ing drugs ‘the right way’, says Trump

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Manila

US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump told Philip­pine leader Ro­drigo Duterte that Manila was con­duct­ing its deadly drug war “the right way”, Duterte said on Satur­day, in stark con­trast to the crit­i­cism he re­ceived from Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

The Philip­pine pres­i­dent called Trump late on Fri­day evening to con­grat­u­late him on his elec­tion vic­tory with Trump wish­ing him “suc­cess” in his con­tro­ver­sial anti-crime crack­down, in which some 4,800 peo­ple have been killed since June, ac­cord­ing to Duterte.

peo­ple

“He was quite sen­si­tive also to our worry about drugs. And he wishes me well... in my cam­paign and he said that... we are do­ing it as a sov­er­eign na­tion, the right way,” Duterte said in a video re­leased by his of­fice on Satur­day.

“He was wish­ing me suc­cess in my cam­paign against the drug prob­lem.”

Duterte, 71, launched an un­prece­dented war on drugs that drew a wave of global crit­i­cism with Obama urg­ing the leader in Septem­ber to con­duct his cam­paign “the right way” fol­low­ing con­cerns over al­leged ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings.

Trump’s of­fice re­leased a brief state­ment fol­low­ing the con­ver­sa­tion, say­ing Duterte had con­grat­u­lated Trump and the two agreed to work to­gether closely.

Duterte won pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in May af­ter pledg­ing to kill tens of thou­sands of drug sus­pects, warn­ing that oth­er­wise the Philippines would turn into a narco-state.

Since as­sum­ing of­fice, he has called on po­lice and even civil­ians to kill drug users.

In Oc­to­ber Duterte an­nounced a “sep­a­ra­tion” from the United States and had called for the with­drawal of US troops from his coun­try, putting into ques­tion Manila’s 70-year-old alliance with Wash­ing­ton.

But on Satur­day, Duterte said he “could sense a good rap­port” with an “an­i­mated” Trump.

Duterte’s spokesman said the “un­der­stand­ing” be­tween the two lead­ers sig­naled bet­ter Philip­pine-US ties.

“We can say at this stage that our re­la­tion­ship with the US is im­prov­ing,” Ernesto Abella said.

Video re­leased by Duterte’s of­fice showed the Philip­pine leader laugh­ing as he chat­ted on the phone, later say­ing Trump would be “a good pres­i­dent for the United States of Amer­ica”.

have been killed in the Philip­pine anti-crime crack­down since June

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