MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte invited US President-elect Donald Trump to visit the Philippines in 2017, Duterte's aide said Friday evening, December 2, after a "very engaging, animated" phone conversation between the two leaders.
Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go said Duterte called Trump at around 10:30 pm, Philippine time. (READ: Duterte to personally congratulate Trump in phone call)
During their brief talk, Trump invited Duterte visit him in the White House in 2017. Duterte, meanwhile, also invited Trump to attend the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, which will be hosted by the Philippines.
According to the Presidential Communications Office on Saturday, December 3, Duterte said Trump invited him "to visit New York and Washington DC, he said that if I’m around, he wants to be notified of my presence..." When Duterte mentioned the ASEAN Summit, Trump said "he will try his best to be here. He wants to attend the Summit and that would be great for our country."
Duterte added that he sensed "good rapport" with Trump whom he described as "animated" during their conversation.
Both leaders have been known for their controversial statements, with Duterte being called the "Trump of the East" and Trump being branded, too, as the "Duterte of the West."
Duterte said Trump extended his "warmest regards to the Filipino people."
US 'last to interfere'
Duterte said the American president-elect was "quite sensitive to our worry about drugs" and wished him success in his campaign against drugs.
Duterte said of Trump: "He understood the way we are handling it and I said that there's nothing wrong in protecting a country. It was a bit very encouraging in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that, 'we would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country.'"
Trump told Duterte his campaign against drugs is being done "as a sovereign nation, the right way." In response, Duterte assured him of the country's "ties with America".
"I appreciate the response that I got from president-elect Trump and I would like to wish him success. He will be a good president for the United States of America, I am very sure," Duterte said.
Earlier, Malacañang already issued an official statement on Trump's victory, where Duterte wished him "success in the next 4 years as Chief Executive and commander-in-chief of the US military."
In that statement, Malacañang said Duterte "looks forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippines-US relations anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law."
Relations between the Philippines and the US have been strained over the past few months, as Duterte and outgoing US President Barack Obama have opposed each other on human rights.
Obama urged Duterte to fight crime "the right way" at a news conference at the end of the ASEAN Summit in Laos in September. Duterte, on the other hand, blasted America for its supposed "hypocrisy" in promoting human rights. – Rappler.com