Philip­pines leader also keen to meet Vladimir Putin

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

The Philip­pine pres­i­dent, who has lashed out at US coun­ter­part Barack Obama for crit­i­cis­ing his deadly crack­down on drugs, said his ties with the United States are likely to im­prove un­der Don­ald Trump.

And Ro­drigo Duterte said that he is also ex­cited to meet Rus­sian leader Vladimir Putin at an up­com­ing Asia-Pa­cific sum­mit.

Duterte made up­beat re­marks about both the pres­i­dent-elect and Putin at a news con­fer­ence in Manila.

Asked whether his ties with Amer­ica can im­prove un­der Trump, Duterte replied: “I’m sure, we have no quar­rel. I can al­ways be a friend to any­body, es­pe­cially to a... pres­i­dent, chief ex­ec­u­tive of an­other coun­try.”

Duterte, who has been com­pared to Trump be­cause of his ir­rev­er­ence to­ward ri­vals and crit­ics, said he trusted the US pres­i­dent-elect’s judg­ment and ex­pected him to be fair in deal­ing with peo­ple liv­ing in the US il­le­gally.

Filipinos are one of the largest ex­pa­tri­ate groups in the United States.

His friendly re­marks were a de­par­ture from his com­ments on the cam­paign trail in March, when he took of­fence at be­ing com­pared to Trump.

“Don­ald Trump is a bigot, I am not,” Duterte said, re­fer­ring to Trump’s pro­pos­als to ban Mus­lims from en­ter­ing the US and erect a wall along the Mex­i­can bor­der.

Duterte, 71, has had a frosty re­la­tion­ship with Obama and the US govern­ment since US of­fi­cials ex­pressed reser­va­tions about his anti-drug war, which is thought to have left more than 4,000 peo­ple dead since July.

He has told Obama to “go to hell” and an­nounced his “sep­a­ra­tion” from Amer­ica.

His push away from Wash­ing­ton has been ac­com­pa­nied by ap­proaches to China and Rus­sia.

Duterte said he is look­ing for­ward to meet­ing with Putin at this month’s Asia Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion sum­mit in Peru, and wants the two coun­tries to have stronger ties.

“I will not ask for any­thing. I want to be friends with him, I just want the two coun­tries to be the best of friends,” he said.

ALIKE: Duterte has been com­pared to Trump

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