President Trump wrapping up Asia trip in Philippines

Marco Green
November 14, 2017

Duterte's scorched-earth campaign has reportedly claimed thousands of lives since 2016, drawing condemnation from human rights groups, global media and Western capitals.

President Donald Trump is ignoring questions about human rights abuses as he meets with the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte (doo-TEHR'-tay), on the sidelines of an global summit in Manila. The two leaders did talk about the country's brutal war on drugs, which has left thousands of people dead.

Trump's trip is meant to be centered on trade and North Korea, and on Monday he is set to talk with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (doo-TEHR'-tay). It's doubtful, though, whether there will be any substantive discussions on trade and investment issues as well as the South China Sea, where Duterte is exploring joint energy development with Beijing.

Meanwhile, a special counsel investigation of potential collusion between Moscow and President Trump campaign aides so far has resulted in two indictments for financial and other crimes unrelated to the campaign, as well as a guilty plea.

If anything, Duterte has been all praise for Trump in the past year, welcoming closer bilateral cooperation against common concerns such as terrorism.

Trump says he enjoyed the event's opening dinner and says, "We very much appreciated the great treatment you've given".

Duterte is determined to show that even the United States president is behind him, while Trump is eager to display his personal diplomacy and ability to win back estranged allies.

Duterte, 72, past year branded then-US president Barack Obama a "son of a whore" for criticizing the drug war. He also restricted U.S. access to Philippine bases under the newly implemented Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

Trump has previously praised Duterte's handling of his nation's drug problems.

Trump is finishing up a five-country trip through Asia, stopping in Manila to attend the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic summit.

Trump will also meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, which plays a key role in the USA vision of an Indo-Pacific region that attempts to de-emphasize China's influence.

"Trump seems very comfortable with strongmen". "It's unlikely that human rights or rule of law or due process are going to be topics that President Trump will raise".

"I think Mr. Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump's interest in being flattered".

White House officials have suggested there is a strategy behind Trump's flattery of Duterte.

On Saturday, he dismissed the former USA intelligence officials who said Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 presidential elections as "political hacks".

Former CIA director John Brennan said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump is trying to "delegitimize" the intelligence community's assessment.

According to leaked documents, the White House even supports Duterte's anti-drug campaign.

It's one thing to preach "America First", as President Donald Trump has done consistently since taking office. He says it demonstrates that Trump "can be played by foreign leaders". Duterte has received worldwide criticism for the human rights situation in the Philippines right now, from Filipinos (although many do like him), human rights organizations, and various governments alike - including President Obama.

The comments made clear that President Trump still does not take the meddling seriously and sees little benefit in punishing a nation accused of undermining the most fundamental tenet of American democracy: free and fair elections.

In China, Trump squandered the opportunity to deliver an unequivocal message condemning Beijing's unfair trade practices and its unsafe military adventurism in the South China Sea.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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