Official: Trump has 'warm rapport' with Phillipines' Duterte


WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump has developed a friendly relationship with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte from the two leaders' telephone conversations and exchanges of letters, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

"I think there's a warm rapport there and he's very much looking forward to his first in-person meeting with President Duterte," the U.S. official told reporters during a background briefing on Trump's Nov. 3-14 trip to Asia.

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The two leaders have become friendly during telephone conversations and exchanges of letters, the official said.

Trump will travel to Asia amid rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. He will be in Manila on the last leg of his trip, which includes visits to Japan, South Korea, China, and Vietnam, to attend the ASEAN leaders’ summit.

Duterte has attacked the United States verbally, chiding Washington for treating the Philippines "like a dog," despite the two nations’ longstanding relationship.

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Everything you didn't know about Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte
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Everything you didn't know about Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte was born on March 28, 1945 in Maasin, Southern Leyte, Philippines.

(PHILIPPINES-DAVAO/MODEL REUTERS/Renato Lumawag)

Duterte became the mayor of Davao City in 1988, where he earned the nickname “The Punisher.” He served as mayor for 20 years, non-consecutively.

(PHILIPPINES-DAVAO/MODEL REUTERS/Renato Lumawag)

Duterte comes from a family of politicians. His father, Vicente Duterte, was the governor of unified Davao and a member of President Ferdinand Marcos' cabinet. His daughter, Sara Duterte, is currently the mayor of Davao City.

(REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

Rodrigo Duterte was elected the 16th president of the Philippines in May 2016.

(REUTERS/Czar Dancel)

Duterte once compared himself to Adolf Hitler, saying he would kill millions of drug addicts.

(REUTERS/Ezra Acayan)

Duterte has led a violent anti-drug crackdown, and more than 7,000 have reportedly been killed since he has taken office. 

(Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Duterte called President Barack Obama a “son of a wh**e.” He made the comments after Obama brought up concerns about human rights violations in 2016. Duterte later apologized for the comment.

(Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Weeks before being sworn in as president, Duterte fueled an already hostile environment for journalists when he said, "Just because you're a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you're a son of a b****." 

(REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)

In 2015, Duterte vowed to execute 100,000 criminals and dump their bodies into Manila Bay. 

(REUTERS/Czar Dancel)

Duterte cursed Pope Francis over traffic that was generated by his visit. 

"We were affected by the traffic," Duterte said. "It took us five hours. I asked why, they said it was closed. I asked who is coming. They answered, the Pope. I wanted to call him: 'Pope, son of a wh**e, go home. Do not visit us again'."

He later apologized. 

(PHILIPPINES - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Duterte came under fire in April 2016 after he made a joke about a missionary who was gang raped and murdered during a prison riot in 1989. “But she was so beautiful,” Duterte said. “I thought the mayor should have been first.” 

(REUTERS/Harley Palangchao)

A witness testified in Sept. 2016, claiming he was a member of Duterte's alleged "Davao Death Squad," and that the Filipino president gave orders to kill drug dealers, drug users and others who may violate the law. 

(Photo credit should read Ezra Acayan / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

In December of 2016, Duterte said President Donald Trump endorses his violent and deadly campaign against drugs after a brief phone call. 

(REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)

Congressman Gary Alejano filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte in March 2017, claiming he is guilty of crimes against humanity and murder.

(REUTERS/Erik De Castro TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

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The Philippines’ leader announced his "separation" from the United States during a visit to Beijing a year ago, declaring he had realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve a South China Sea dispute through talks.

Duterte is accused by international human rights groups of supporting a campaign of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines, which his government denies.

The Philippine leader was infuriated by expressions of concern by members of former President Barack Obama’s administration about extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

But Trump, in a phone call to Duterte in May, praised the Philippine leader for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” despite human rights groups’ condemnation of Duterte’s drug crackdown, in which thousands of people have been killed. (Reporting by Steve Holland and Doina Chiacu; Editing by David Alexander and Alistair Bell)

 

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