Trump praises ‘great relationship’ with Philippines’ Duterte

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President Trump on Monday praised his “great relationship” with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after the two leaders met in Manila as part of Trump’s five-nation tour of Asia.

“We’ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful. We have many meetings today with many other leaders,” Trump said during joint remarks with Duterte. “And the [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] conference has been handled beautifully by the President in the Philippines and your representatives.”

Trump said that he had “really enjoyed being” in the Philippines, where he also attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.

“But we very much appreciate the great treatment you’ve given us. I thought last night’s event was fantastic. Tremendous talent — most of it, I guess, from the Philippines,” Trump said, appearing to refer to a gala from the previous night.

“But tremendous talent — musical talent, dance talent. And we really had a tremendous time, all of the leaders.” 

Duterte at the gala on Sunday evening said he performed a duet at the behest of Trump.

Trump has been under pressure to discuss human rights during his trip to the Philippines, where Duterte faces human rights abuse allegations related to his crackdown on drugs.

The White House on Monday said the two leaders “briefly” discussed the issue in the context of the crackdown, while a spokesman for the Philippine leader said the two did not talk about the subject.

“There was no mention of human rights, no mention of extralegal killings,” Harry Roque, a spokesman for Duterte, said.

— This report was updated at 7:57 a.m.


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