Updated: Jan 22
Philippines' Duterte says will never visit 'lousy' United States-REUTERS
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hit back on Friday at U.S. lawmakers opposed to the prospect of his visiting the White House, saying he would never go to the United States, which he called a “lousy” country.
Trump Invites Rodrigo Duterte to the White House-NEW YORK TIMES
WASHINGTON — President Trump on Saturday invited the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to the White House, embracing an authoritarian leader who is accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and who crudely disparaged Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.
Mr. Trump had a “very friendly conversation with Mr. Duterte,” according to a statement issued by the White House late Saturday. It said that the two leaders “discussed the fact that the Philippines is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs.”
In fact, Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs has resulted in the deaths of several thousand people suspected of using or selling narcotics, as well as others who may have had no involvement with drugs. Human rights groups and many Western governments have condemned Mr. Duterte for the bloody campaign.
A spokesman for Mr. Duterte, Ernesto Abella, confirmed the White House invitation, saying that Mr. Trump had expressed “his understanding and appreciation of the challenges facing the Philippine president, especially on the matter” of drugs.
Why Duterte will never visit Trump’s White House
A proposed United States travel ban against top Philippine officials, including members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s inner circle accused of rights abuses, threatens to torpedo bilateral strategic ties in 2020.
In a symbolic move, Duterte’s office recently said he would officially decline US President Donald Trump’s standing invitation for a White House meeting, making him the first leader in memory to boycott the nation’s sole treaty ally.
The targeted sanction, included as a provision in the US’ Fiscal Year 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, was signed into law in December by Trump and will come into force later this year.