Meetings with Xi, Putin were productive - Rody

Posted November 15, 2017

Trump was in the Philippines to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference and the East Asia Summit. Ahead of his meeting with the U.S. president, he promised that his country will "remain to be the best of friends with America".

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the European Union have all criticized the controversial leader for previous statements that appear to suggest the opposite.

It must be said that Trump and Duterte also share ideological affinity.

Tomorrow, Trump and Duterte are expected to hold bilateral talks.

Within months, Duterte downgraded security ties with America, threatening to expel United States soldiers stationed in the Philippines and cancelling major war games in the contested South China Sea.

Referring to the trade imbalance, Trump said he had frank discussions with Xi during his trip to Beijing on the subject and expressed his desire to "achieve a trading relationship that is conducted on a truly, fair and equal basis". I would say awful is putting it mildly.

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On Saturday, he dismissed the former US intelligence officials who said Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 presidential elections as "political hacks".

China has dismissed that ruling as a "sham" and did not participate in the arbitration case that the Philippines filed during the time of Duterte's predecessor.

Eyes will be on whether Trump does the fist pump, having told Duterte in April he was doing a "great job" in his drug war.

Since he became president, thousands have died in a nationwide anti-drugs campaign that human rights defenders say is being carried out in a culture of legal impunity.

Though the United States administration has been under pressure to raise Duterte's drug war in Manila, Trump will likely focus on building rapport and personal friendship with his Filipino counterpart.

He jointly met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with whom he had a contentious phone call last winter, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who hosted the president in Tokyo earlier in the trip.

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Duterte won last year's presidential elections after promising to eradicate illegal drugs with an unprecedented crackdown that would see up to 100,000 people killed. Human rights groups believe the victim total is far higher, perhaps closer to 9,000.

Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said it was hypocritical for the two to even discuss the topic given their tracklist of human rights violations.

Duterte says there are three million drug addicts in the Philippines, and he'd like them all dead. Government officials estimate that well over 3,000 people, mostly drug users and dealers, have died in the ongoing crackdown.

Trump, on the other hand, has embraced Duterte - with a senior administration official saying before the trip that "there's a warm rapport there".

He said Putin also endorsed stronger coordination between the two governments, citing upcoming visit of the Russian Federation defense military to the Philippines.

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