Trump: All is well with PH-US re­la­tions

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By ELLSON A. QUISMORIO

United States (US) Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said all is well be­tween his coun­try and the Philip­pines, al­though he de­scribed the two govern­ments’ re­la­tion­ship as “hor­ri­ble” not too long ago.

“And as you know, we were hav­ing a lot of prob­lems with the Philip­pines. The re­la­tion­ship with the past ad­min­is­tra­tion was hor­ri­ble... I would say hor­ri­ble ,” the bil­lion­aire busi­ness man turned-White House res­i­dent said Tues­day fol­low­ing a luncheon with fel­low heads of state at­tend­ing the 31st ASEAN Sum­mit and re­lated sum­mits in Manila.

“You know what hap­pened, many of you were there and you never got to the land. The plane came close but it didn’t land,” Trump said, with­out elab­o­rat­ing.

“And now we have a very, very strong re­la­tion­ship with the Philip­pines, which is re­ally... less so for trade in this case, for mil­i­tary pur­poses, it is a strate­gic lo­ca­tion, the most strate­gic lo­ca­tion,” noted Trump.

Wash­ing­ton and Manila have been mu­tual de­fense treaty al­lies for al­most 70 years. The US helped lib­er­ate the Philip­pines dur­ing World War II, it was re­called.

“So it’s very im­por­tant that we get along with the Philip­pines and we re­ally do. We have a good, very good re­la­tion­ship. I would ac­tu­ally say, prob­a­bly, bet­ter than ever be­fore,” the Amer­i­can leader said.

It was also on Tues­day that repub­li­can Trump had a 40-minute one-on-one with the host pres­i­dent, Ro­drigo Duterte, who has been de­scribed to be as out­spo­ken and un­pre­dictable as he is.

By all in­di­ca­tions, pop­ulist Pres­i­dents Duterte and Trump have quite the bro­mance, es­pe­cially when com­pared to the cold re­la­tion­ship that the Filipino had with the lat­ter’s pre­de­ces­sor, Barack Obama.

Last year, Duterte hurled in­vec­tives at Obama over Amer­ica’s al­leged historical in­jus­tices to the Filipinos. Obama is a demo­crat.

Philip­pines was nicer Trump’s post-luncheon speech be­came his last on Philippine soil as he had to board a 3 p.m. plane back to Wash­ing­ton. He skipped the East Asia Sum­mit as a re­sult, de­spite hav­ing been an­nounced to at­tend the event ear­lier.

How­ever, Trump did say that the Philip­pines treated him bet­ter than Viet­nam, which hosted the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (Sum­mit) just be­fore the ASEAN meet­ings.

“Viet­nam treated us in­cred­i­bly as the – I think, the Philip­pines did... nicer,” he said.

“So we have ac­com­plished a lot. I’ve en­joyed it very much,” added the 71-year-old re­al­ity star and Twit­ter afi­cionado.

The Philip­pines was the last stop in Trump’s 12-day Asian swing, which also in­cluded vis­its to China, South Korea and Ja­pan. He had good things to say about these coun­tries as well.

“So it’s been an in­cred­i­ble 12 days. I’ve en­joyed it im­mensely. I’ve made a lot of friends at the high­est level, whether it’s China in the in­cred­i­ble open­ing they gave us. That un­be­liev­able evening. Peo­ple re­ally have never seen any­thing like it.

“And then we had great meet­ings in China, and Ja­pan like­wise. It was a tremen­dous roll­out,” re­called Trump.

Trump fur­ther said: “In South Korea, as you know, we made a speech. I be­lieve sel­dom has there been the op­por­tu­nity to speak. So South Korea was... ter­rific.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.