Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Trump Defends Inviting Philippines President to White House

Trump Defends Inviting Philippines President to White House

Despite this, President Trump has repeatedly praised Duterte's actions in the Philippines regarding his war against drugs which so far has involved the slaughter of thousands suspected of being involved in the drug trade.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he may turn down an invitation by Donald Trump to visit the United States, as he welcomed three Chinese warships to his home town.

On Saturday, President Trump confounded critics when he called President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and invited him to the White House - without notifying the State Department and the National Security Council beforehand, according to Salon.

Duterte also once called former President Obama a "son of a whore" and said he'd burn down the United Nations headquarters in New York City if he came to America.

Mr Duterte has faced global condemnation for his brutal crackdown on drugs in the Philippines. Police say they have killed only in self-defense, and the deaths of other drug dealers and users was down to vigilantes or narcotics gangs silencing potential witnesses. An investigation in the Philippine Senate was derailed by Mr. Duterte's allies in Congress, and the senator leading it jailed on drug charges she says were meant to silence her. Oh, and he once referred to President Barack Obama as "the son of a wh*re."

Duterte has been accused of numerous human rights abuses in his violent campaign against drugs.

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"Our greatest chance there of getting some dialogue with America and North Korea would be through the intercession of China", Mr. Duterte recalled telling Mr. Trump. "And so that set aside, I think the president recognizes the threat that he posed and is doing everything he can to isolate that threat and to make sure we bring stability to the region".

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The White House has given no details about when the two leaders may meet, but a face to face meeting in Washington is expected to discuss this new alliance.

This is not Trump's first dance with Duterte. During Obama's final months in office, the Philippine president moved to build closer economic ties with China and Russian Federation while repeatedly threatening to end his nation's longstanding military alliance with the U.S.

Duterte suggested in a news conference Saturday that the Trump administration should back away from an intensifying standoff with North Korea, not in surrender, but to avoid risking a nuclear holocaust that could smother Asia.

Duterte said he has not accepted the invitation because of scheduled trips to Russia, Israel and other countries.

"We know that we are playing with somebody who relishes in letting go his missiles".

Duterte's White House welcome sounded an immediate alarm with the watchdog group Human Rights Watch, whose Asia division deputy director condemned the move in a blistering statement.

Duterte expressed concerns about not being able to fit in a visit to Trump even though no firm date has yet been proposed for it.

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