President Trump will meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte next month during a five-nation trip to Asia, the White House announced Monday.
The Nov. 13 meeting will occur during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in the Philippine capital of Manila.
Duterte has come under criticism for his violent crackdown on drug dealers, for which he has been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings. Nearly 5,000 people have been killed since Duterte took office last June, according to Human Rights Watch.
Unlike his predecessor, Trump has praised Duterte’s drug war.
"I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem," Trump said in an April 29 phone call, according to a leaked transcript. The president invited his Philippine counterpart to the White House during the same call.
President Obama canceled a planned meeting with Duterte last September after he called the U.S. leader a “son of a bitch.”
Trump and Duterte’s sit-down will be one of the most-watched events of his 12-day trip to Asia, his first visit to the region as president.
He will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during trips to their respective countries.
The meetings will likely focus on Trump’s efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear program. His decision to scrap a Pacific Rim trade deal negotiated by the Obama administration will also be a major topic.
In addition to the ASEAN summit, Trump will attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economic leaders' meeting in Vietnam and deliver an address to South Korea's legislative assembly.
“The president’s travel will underscore his commitment to longstanding United States alliances and partnerships, and reaffirm United States leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.