Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (right) and US President Donald Trump.


Trump administration defends invitation extended to Duterte who is criticized for his blood war on drugs in the Philippines


WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to visit the US.

According to a White House statement, the invitation was extended by Trump during a “friendly discussion” over the phone with Duterte last Saturday wherein both leaders discussed Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs and regional security in Southeast Asia amid escalating tensions between Pyongyang and Washington over North Korea’s ballistic missile tests.

No date has yet been set for Duterte’s US visit, the statement also said.

The White House also said Trump told Duterte he is looking forward to his visit to the Philippines this November.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said in an interview last Sunday on ABC network’s “This Week” that the outreach to Manila and to other Asian countries is important to dealing with North Korea and the nuclear threat posed by the Kim regime.

While human rights matter to the Trump administration, the North Korean problem takes precedence, Priebus said.

Priebus’ statements were in response to criticism of the invitation to Duterte who has been lambasted in the Philippines and by other countries and international organizations for alleged human rights abuses in the implementation of Duterte’s anti-illegal drug campaign.

So far, more than 8,000 drug suspects have been killed either in legitimate police operations or by vigilantes since the war on drugs started after Duterte took office in June last year. GAC/Expat Media


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