As Donald Trump comes to the end of his 12 -day Asia tour, the US President declared his “great relationship” with the Philippines’ president, Rodrigo Duterte.
Having been described as the “Trump of the East”, Duterte is a controversial President who’s war on drugs has left thousands dead. It was safe to say that human rights were not on the agenda of their meeting.
“The issue of human rights did not arise. It was not brought up,” said Harry Roque, a spokesperson for Duterte.
“It was President Duterte who brought up with President Trump the drug menace in the Philippines, and the US president appeared sympathetic and did not have any official position on the matter but was merely nodding his head,”
When previously asked about Duterte’s approach to illegal drugs in The Philippines, Trump said he thought the Filippino President was doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem”.
He carried on his compliments on his Asia tour.
“Rodrigo, I would like to commend you on your success as Asean chair at this critical moment of time,” said Trump at a press conference. “The show last night was fantastic. And you were fantastic.”
In reality, it has been estimated by the Philippine government that over 3,000 people have died in the anti-drugs initiative. Human rights groups believe this number of drug users and suspected dealers is far higher.
Roque went on to describe the meeting between the two Presidents as “warm and friendly”.
At a gala dinner for summit leaders in Manila on Sunday, Duterte sang Filipino love song on stage, later saying it was “on the orders of Donald Trump”.
Trump’s visit to the Philippines was met with riots in Manilla, which were dispersed by water cannons.
Trump is ending his 12-day tour. He will arrive back in the US on Monday.