MANILA, Philippines – US President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had nothing but nice words to say about each other as their first few encounters seem to have turned into a budding friendship.
The two world leaders first met in person on Saturday, November 11, at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vietnam, but it wasn’t until Sunday, when the American president came to the Philippines when the two finally found time to chat.
Trump arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, November 12, for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, and was warmly welcomed by Duterte at a gala.
Duterte mentioned Trump first in his welcome speech, sat next to him at dinner, and even sang at Trump’s request in front of world leaders.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I sang uninvited a duet with Ms Pilita Corrales upon the orders of the commander in chief of the United States,” Duterte said as he ended his number.
On Monday, the two had their first bilateral meeting, where Trump listened intently as Duterte told him about the drug war he was waging – without stating his position or questioning alleged human rights violations.
“We’ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful,” said Trump after their bilateral talks.
Of course, not all are happy. Critics have slammed Trump for staying silent on Duterte’s drug war, but human rights activists said they are not completely surprised, since the two are perceived to be quite similar: tough-talking, anti-establishment leaders, who are seen to have little regard for rules and protocol.
Here are photos of the two leaders’ budding bond: