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Trump Hails Great Relationship With Filipino Leader
Trump Hails Great Relationship With Filipino Leader

Trump Hails Great Relationship With Filipino Leader

Trump Hails Great Relationship With Filipino Leader

Donald Trump declared Monday he had a “great relationship” with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a controversial figure who is waging a drugs war that rights groups say involves mass murder, as the leaders joked with each other in Manila.
The US president is in the Philippines with leaders of 18 other nations for two days of summits, the final leg of a headline-grabbing Asian tour dominated by the North Korean nuclear crisis, wire services reported.
Rights groups had called on Trump to end his Asian journey with a strong statement against Duterte’s drugs war, which has seen police and suspected vigilantes kill thousands of people.
But in a series of encounters over Sunday and Monday, Trump and Duterte appeared to enjoy each others’ company, leading to warm praise from the US president during official talks at lunchtime.
“We’ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful,” Trump told Duterte in brief opening remarks at their meeting.
Trump praised Duterte for his organization of the summits, saying he handled them “beautifully”.
“I’ve really enjoyed being here,” he said.
As the reporters were being escorted out of the room, one asked if Trump would raise the issue of human rights, to which Duterte jokingly called the media “spies”. Both laughed but neither answered.
Duterte’s spokesman later said repeatedly that Trump did not bring up any human rights concerns in the meeting, which lasted about 40 minutes.
He said the US leader nodded as he listened to Duterte speaking about his drugs war.
Many Filipinos back Duterte, believing he is taking necessary measures to fight crime, but rights groups warn he may be orchestrating a crime against humanity.
When pressured over allegations of extra-judicial killings carried out by police, Duterte insists he has never told them to break the law.
But rights groups say police are following Duterte’s incitements to kill, including comments made last year when he said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million addicts.
In a gala in the Philippines capital on Sunday ahead of an annual summit, Duterte crooned a hit Filipino love song at a dinner in Manila for leaders from across Asia, explaining later that it was “on the orders of US President Donald Trump”.
Trump and Duterte were among 19 leaders at a glittering gala, and at one point Duterte took the microphone to sing “Ikaw” (You), in a duet with local pop diva Pilita Corrales.
One of the song’s verses, translated from Filipino, begins: “You are the light in my world, a half of this heart of mine”.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I sang uninvited, upon the orders of the commander-in-chief of the United States,” Duterte said later, according to the ABS-CBN news channel.

 

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