Duterte ‘can’t promise’ to accept Trump invite

Pia Ranada
Duterte ‘can’t promise’ to accept Trump invite
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he has other foreign trips scheduled in the near future, so it is unclear if he will be able to visit the United States

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – No promises, said President Rodrigo Duterte about chances he’ll accept United States President Donald Trump’s invitation to the White House.

“No, because I’m tied up. I cannot make any definite promise,” he said on Monday, May 1, during a chance interview with reporters in Davao City.

He had just finished touring 3 Chinese warships docked in a port there.

Duterte said he has other foreign trips scheduled in the next few months, hence his inability to confirm any White House visit soon.

“I’m supposed to go to Russia, supposed to go to Israel,” he said.

He is set to visit Russia end of May. There are no details yet about his supposed Israel trip.

While a White House visit is not likely any time soon, Duterte and Trump are expected to meet in November when the American leader attends the East Asia Summit and the US-ASEAN Summit.

These events will be held in the Philippines as part of the country’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year. (READ: Duterte praises Trump, calls him a deep thinker)

Duterte also revealed more details about his conversation with Trump last Saturday, April 29, which dealt largely with North Korea’s missile tests.

“I just said, ‘We’re concerned. I suppose you have your persuasive power. There has to be sense somewhere, Mr President. I don’t think you can scare Kim Jong-un with firepower,'” said Duterte.

On Saturday, Duterte, as ASEAN chairman, called on North Korea and the US to show restraint.

He looks to China, a country he is fostering warmer ties with, to help mediate between the US and North Korea.

“Our greatest chance there of getting some dialogue with America and North Korea [is] through the intercession of China,” said Duterte. (READ: Trump says North Korea’s Kim is ‘a pretty smart cookie’– Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.