During his early months in office, Duterte repeatedly insulted USA officials, including former President Barack Obama who criticised his bloody drug war. "The US President's willingness to challenge the appalling record of President Duterte's "war on drugs" is a crucial test of his administration's commitment to upholding and defending human rights". "They've been very candid in their dealings, and it's very apparent that both of them have a person who they consider as not their best friend".
The pair also avoided talking about something they sincerely do not give a fuck about: human rights. Although a White House official said that human rights were briefly mentioned when the leaders met on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit, Trump did not publicly mention the rights violations. A lot of the issues that underpin the U.S.
Speaking with reporters last week, Duterte promised to tell Trump to "lay off" if he raised human rights concerns. Earlier this year, Trump even invited Duterte to the White House, without consulting anyone from the State Department on the matter first.
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With Trump, however, Duterte seems more in his element.
Turnbull was due to have a bilateral meeting with Trump on Monday morning, but will dine with the president in the evening instead. "Maybe the press conference would follow". He's also frequently referred to as a "dictator", which isn't true: If Filipinos wanted to impeach Duterte tomorrow, they could.
Mr Trump has faced criticism for praising Mr Duterte during a phone call for the "great job" he was doing to counter illegal narcotics. Duterte, however, made it clear that he won't welcome any discussion on human rights lest he will tell the U.S. leader to "lay off".
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Duterte is facing strong criticisms at home and overseas for the brutality of his government's war on drugs, which rights groups say has claimed between 7,000 to 12,000 lives, most of whom belong to the urban poor. "He could also have mentioned that future USA assistance was contingent on the Philippines government, initiating proper investigations into all alleged unlawful killings by police and other armed persons".
Duterte led Asean leaders in their dialogue with Trump, being chairman of Asean on the regional bloc's 50th anniversary.
A draft of the statement to be issued after a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders made no mention of the flight of Rohingya from military operations in Myanmar's Rakhine State that the United Nations has described as ethnic cleansing.
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As many as 55 documents are expected to be signed and adopted at the meetings. Duterte's scorched-earth campaign has reportedly claimed thousands of lives since 2016, drawing condemnation from human rights groups, worldwide media and Western capitals. For now, the conflicting reports are the only answers that anyone will get.