Philippines President Duterte says he may turn down Trump's White House invitation

Elias Hubbard
May 15, 2017

The New York Times reports an invitation to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to visit the White House came as a surprise to both the National Security Council and the State Department-which has criticized Duterte for supporting vigilante killings of drug dealers.

Responding to Trump's invitation on Saturday to visit the United States, Duterte said on Monday, "I can not make any definite promise".

Duterte's tough methodology isn't the only source of outrage and condemnation. Duterte has also cursed Pope Francis and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Duterte vowed after his election previous year not to "taunt or flaunt" the ruling, saying he did not want to go to war with China. "I will take the law into my hands ... forget about the laws of men, forget about the laws of global law whatever".

"I said, Mr. President, I do not think that you can scare Kim Jung Un with firepower", Duterte said. Now, there is three million drug addicts.

"This is part of confidence-building and goodwill and to show we are friends and that is why I welcome them", he said.

After all, Duterte is far from your typical world leader.

He took power in June 2016 and waged an all-out "war on drugs", which killed some 6,000 people in his first six months.

Mr Duterte, who has pivoted his country away from its strong alliance with the United States in favour of an increased focus on ties with China and Russian Federation, said that his busy schedule would keep him from making a stop in Washington even though a firm date had not been set for a trip to the US.

"We are watching in real time as the American human rights bully pulpit disintegrates into ash" a remark made on the social media platform "Twitter" by Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of CT and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Ben Cardin, a ranking member of the foreign relations committee of the US Senate, said he was "deeply disturbed" by the invitation, and said he would this week introduce bipartisan legislation to send a warning to Duterte, which would include a ban on arms sales to the Philippine police. So you can go to hell, Mr. Duterte once famously told Barack Obama to "go to hell" for pointing out Duterte's reign of terror.

Xi and Duterte spoke for about 26 minutes, a source at the Philippine president's office told Reuters, and exchanged views about regional developments and how some concerns could be addressed.

Duterte, a loud-mouthed critic of former President Obama who once called the ex-POTUS a "son of a whore", made his comments Monday from the southern Filipino city of Davao, where he served as mayor for 22 years.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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