Trudeau be­rated for rais­ing drug war

Otago Daily Times - - WORLD -

MANILA: Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte at­tacked Canada’s Justin Trudeau at the end of a sum­mit of Asian and West­ern na­tions for rais­ing ques­tions about his war on drugs, a topic skirted by other lead­ers.

At the tra­di­tional news con­fer­ence by the host na­tion at the end of the sum­mit on Tues­day, Duterte was asked how he had re­sponded to the Cana­dian prime min­is­ter rais­ing the is­sue of hu­man rights and ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings in his anti­drugs drive.

‘‘I said I will not ex­plain. It is a per­sonal and of­fi­cial in­sult,’’ the Philip­pines pres­i­dent said, although he did not re­fer to 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,

Trudeau told a news con­fer­ence that dur­ing his meet­ing with

Duterte ‘‘the pres­i­dent was re­cep­tive to my com­ments . . .’’.

Hu­man rights ac­tivists had been hop­ing that lead­ers at the sum­mit would raise the is­sue of the thou­sands of users and small­time push­ers killed in the cam­paign launched by Duterte af­ter he took of­fice in mid­2016.

There was no pres­sure from United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on the drugs war when he met Duterte on Mon­day and the US 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 . . .’’.

Trudeau also said 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.

Some coun­tries in the 10­mem­ber As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (Asean) have voiced strong con­cern over the is­sue re­cently.

How­ever, in keep­ing with Asean’s prin­ci­ple of non­in­ter­fer­ence in each oth­ers’ in­ter­nal af­fairs, it ap­peared to have been put aside at the sum­mit, which brought South­east Asian na­tions to­gether with the United States, Rus­sia, Ja­pan, China, In­dia, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Canada.

Duterte re­ported that China had agreed at the sum­mit to work on a code of con­duct in the South China Sea with Asean na­tions to ease ten­sions over dis­puted claims to the wa­ter­way.

Trump skipped the ple­nary ses­sion of the sum­mit be­cause of sched­ul­ing de­lays, but said his marathon trip to Asia had been a ‘‘tremen­dous’’ suc­cess, claim­ing at least $US300 bil­lion in trade deals.

‘‘We’ve ex­plained that the United States is open for trade but we want re­cip­ro­cal, we want fair trade for the United States.’’

Af­ter Trump left Manila, a group of Asia­Pa­cific na­tions pur­su­ing a sep­a­rate Bei­jing­backed trade deal that does not in­clude the United States agreed to ‘‘in­ten­sify ef­forts’’ in 2018 to bring their ne­go­ti­a­tions to a con­clu­sion.

Asean is joined in the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship talks by China, In­dia, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Ja­pan and South Korea. — Reuters

Ro­drigo Duterte

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