Trump to meet Philippines’ Duterte, talk North Korea on Asia tour
On President Trump’s upcoming tour of Asia, he’ll put pressure on one murderous strongman in the region — while holding court with another.
The White House announced Monday that Trump will meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during the November tour, which is intended in part to press allied nations to clamp down on Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program in North Korea.
As Trump will tour countries to push opposition against Kim, he’ll also be meeting one-on-one with the Filipino leader who has overseen the deaths of thousands of citizens during a chaotic crackdown on drug crimes.
Since taking office last June, Duterte has launched an all-out war against his nation’s drug dealers and addicts. Police committed more than 7,000 extrajudicial killings by January, at which point the Philippine National Police stopped keeping a death toll.
Trump has so far shown no qualms with Duterte’s string of alleged human rights abuses. Nor has he pushed back on Duterte saying he is “not a fan” of the United States and plans to focus the Philippines on aligning with China and Russia instead of the United States.
Trump and Duterte spoke on the phone in April and had what the Trump administration called a “friendly discussion,” which included Trump extending Duterte an invitation to the White House. Trump also praised Duterte for an “an unbelievable job on the drug problem” in the Philippines, adding to Trump’s history of praising strongmen leaders who oppress and kill their own citizens.
President Trump has praised Duterte’s violent crackdown on drugs.
(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Trump and Duterte are scheduled to meet Nov. 14, at the end of Trump’s trip, when the Filipino president hosts the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference in Manila.
The White House said Trump’s Asian tour “will underscore his commitment to longstanding United States alliances and partnerships, and reaffirm United States leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
During scheduled meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump is expected to discuss strategies for taming the nuclear threats and human rights abuses from North Korea.
Trump’s trip will last from Nov. 3 to 14 and will bring him to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.