Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and US President Donald Trump meet for the first time on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Da Nang, Vietnam on Saturday, November 11, 2017. Trump is scheduled to attend the 31st Asean Summit in Manila from November 13 to 15 as one of the ‘dialogue partners’ of the regional group. In the foreground is Duterte’s Special Assistant Christopher “Bong” Go who took the selfie with the two presidents. PHOTO POSTED ON PTV 4 FACEBOOK ACCOUNT
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Donald Trump met for the first time on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam on Saturday.
Photos sent to reporters by Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go showed Trump speaking to Duterte.
According to Malacañang, Trump told Duterte, “See you tomorrow.”
The US president was likely referring to his visit to Manila starting Sunday, November 12, to attend the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.
Speaking to reporters in Vietnam on Saturday, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte’s meeting with Trump was “short” but “warm and cordial.”
“It was a brief meeting… Albeit short, it was very warm and cordial and President Trump reportedly told President Duterte that he would see him tomorrow. That’s because the US President is flying to the Philippines for the Asean Summit tomorrow,” Roque said during a press conference.
“There’s a photo posted by the Special Assistant to the President Bong Go. And it shows that I think, the two leaders were genuinely pleased to have finally met each other in person,” he added.
Duterte and Trump’s bilateral dialogue did not push through in Vietnam. But the two leaders will have their first official meeting on Monday on the sidelines of the summit.
Prior to their first meeting, Trump and Duterte had talked on the phone at least two times, discussing issues of common concern such as the crisis at the Korean Peninsula.
Trump also expressed support for Duterte’s war on drugs, which has been heavily criticized here and abroad for the deaths of thousands of Filipinos.
Roque reiterated that Duterte “will refuse to pursue any talks relating to a domestic issue such as on his war on drugs.”
“Having said that, I’m confident that President Trump, having endorsed Duterte’s war on drugs, will also see no necessity in bringing it up,” he said.
The Palace official said Duterte has had the opportunity to clarify his position on the alleged killings in the Philippines.
“The position is: The use of force by state agents, of course, is not absolutely prohibited. It can be utilized in valid instances of the exercise of police power. But that the use of force, in order to be legal, there must be necessity and proportionality and that is the latest pronouncement of the President in this regard,” Roque said.
“So that is the latest statement of the President on the matter. He wants to emphasize that as a public prosecutor for 10 years, it is not his intention to violate and commit murders — to violate human rights and to commit murders,” he added.
On October 30, Duterte said he would raise the issue on the escalating tension between the US and North Korea over the Korean peninsula.
On Wednesday, the President said he would bring up the West Philippine Sea dispute to allow Trump, who also met Chinese President Xi Jinping during the APEC event, to have a “balanced answer” with regard to the maritime row.
Duterte also said he would tell Trump to “lay off” on the issue of supposed human rights violations associated with his deadly war on drugs that resulted in the deaths of thousands of alleged suspects.
The President is expected to be back in Manila before 11 p.m. Saturday.