Trump invites Duterte for talks
WASHINGTON: On Saturday, United States President Donald Trump invited his Philippine counterpart to Washington in a “friendly” call in which the leaders discussed Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and their countries’ alliance, the White House said.
Duterte has faced international condemnation for his crackdown on crime, which has claimed thousands of lives and led to warnings from rights groups about a possible crime against humanity.
The White House said the two leaders, both elected to office last year, had “a very friendly conversation” that included discussion about the Philippine government’s efforts to “rid its country of drugs” and the regional security threat posed by North Korea.
“President Trump invited President Duterte to the White House to discuss the importance of the US-Philippines alliance, which is heading in a very positive direction.”
There has been concern about Duterte’s efforts to loosen his country’s long-standing alliance with the US as he looks to court China.
Duterte has regularly hit out at the Philippines’ one-time colonial ruler for perceived hypocrisy over human rights, and last year branded Barack Obama as a “son of a w **** ” for criticising the drug war.
The White House said Trump “enjoyed the conversation” with Duterte, and looked forward to attending the key US-Asean and East Asia summits in the Philippines in November.
Vice-President Mike Pence had announced earlier this month that Trump would attend the Asian meetings as a sign of “unwavering commitment” to the region. AFP