Philippines says Trump recognized 'great job' Duterte is doing

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference after concluding the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Manila
Philippines says Trump recognized 'great job' Duterte is doing
Author

04 May, 2017

Recent reporting indicates that President Donald Trump has invited Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, to the White House. Now, there is three million drug addicts.

Countries such as China and Japan, which has also grown closer to the Philippines under Duterte, are less likely to criticize the campaign, which is estimated to have killed 5,000 to 6,000 people. He even went as far as defending the Russian leader to Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, who called Putin a killer in an interview. Obama condemned the assassinations and canceled a planned one-on-one meeting that was to have taken place in Laos.

Trump's invitation to Duterte was denounced by human rights advocates and democratic lawmakers for overlooking the abuses. "I don't know if Trump even knows he's doing it".

A Trump administration official insisted, however, that the invitation was not a reward to Duterte or an endorsement of his policies but a decision that engagement with the Philippines was better than withdrawal which could "intensify bad behaviour" by Duterte.

The White House said rights concerns in the Philippines and Thailand may be aired in private.

During the election campaign, Trump responded to criticism of his praising authoritarian leaders. "The United States is unique in the world because our values - respect for human rights, respect for the rule of law - are our interests". The cold reality of the modern world and the demands of diplomacy can make it hard to maintain a consistent moral position. "The Philippines is far away and is not a node in the USA ballistic missile defense system".

Trump's early decision to withdraw the US from a pan-Pacific trade pact dismayed Southeast Asia, a major destination for USA overseas investment.

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Then Meyers moved on to Duterte, implying that the Filipino leader is in the same league as Erdogan and Kim. "He has a very high approval rating in the Philippines". And we saw this previous year when President Obama indicated he was going to raise human rights issues if he had met with Duterte, and Duterte responded with an epithet toward the president, and basically said he was going to turn to China and Russian Federation. He met last month at the White House with Egyptian leader, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who he's called a "fantastic guy".

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Apparently, President Trump didn't clear this with the State Department before issuing this invitation.

Maxfield Brown, business intelligence associate at the consultancy Dezan Shira & Associates in Manila, said, "If Duterte can play his cards correctly, this will likely result in a mounting bidding war between China and the USA over influence in the Philippines".

Warming up the crowd before Trump's appearance, Vice President Pence told guests at the White House, "you might be small and community banks but you have a big, big impact on a growing American economy".

Mr Duterte said if asked by Mr Trump, he would happily relay what was discussed with Mr Xi. Whether that ever happened is unknown, but it certainly should have.

"Since July, police and unknown vigilantes have killed more than 6,000 suspected drug dealers and users as the government pursued a policy aimed at eliminating illegal drug activity", the report said. That Trump is willing to embrace him is worrisome.

"We are watching in real time as the American human rights bully pulpit disintegrates into ash" a remark made on the social media platform "Twitter" by Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of CT and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Now, this invitation from the White House emboldens his followers, and it's welcomed quite significantly on the ground.


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