(UPDATED) US President Donald Trump also says he ‘looks forward’ to visiting the Philippines in November for the East Asia Summit
TALKING TO TRUMP. President Rodrigo Duterte is assisted by Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go as he speaks to US President Donald Trump on the phone, April 29, 2017. Also in the photos are Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo. Malacanang Photo
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – US President Donald Trump has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House, as the American leader reiterated his commitment to Philipppine-US ties in a phone call Saturday, April 29.
Trump, who is marking his 100th day in office Saturday, called Duterte after the conclusion of the 30th ASEAN Summit, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Sunday, April 30.
"The ambit of the conversation between the two leaders includes the expression of commitment of US President Trump to the PH-US alliance and his interest in developing a warm, working relationship with President Duterte," Abella said.
"It was a very friendly conversation, in which the two leaders discussed the concerns of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regarding regional security, including the threat posed by North Korea," the White House meanwhile, said in its own media release about the conversation.
"They also discussed the fact that the Philippine government is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs, a scourge that affects many countries throughout the world," the White House continued.
Trump also said "he looks forward" to the East Asia Summit and the US-ASEAN Summit in November, which will be held in the Philippines as part of the country’s chairmanship of the ASEAN this year.
"President Trump also invited President Duterte to the White House to discuss the importance of the United States-Philippines alliance, which is now heading in a very positive direction," the White House said.
Earlier in the day, during a news conference capping the 30th ASEAN Summit, Duterte said he planned to urge Trump to exercise prudence on the North Korea issue. (READ: Duterte calls on North Korea, U.S. to ‘show restraint’)
The US is a dialogue partner of the ASEAN, and is the oldest and most powerful ally of the Philippines. The Philippines is one of only two treaty allies of the US in Southeast Asia.
This is the latest phone conversation between the two leaders. After Trump’s surprise victory in the US presidential election in November, Duterte congratulated him over the phone.
Duterte has had kind words for Trump, in contrast with how he has bashed Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, in numerous occasions. – Rappler.com