Trump: All is well with PH-US relations
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.”