World

Trump holds out promise to revive ties at Apec summit

Trump holds out promise to revive ties at Apec summit

"Foreign leaders should recognise that the fist. symbolises a purposeful attack by Duterte on rule of law that has inflicted a human rights calamity on thousands of Filipinos", Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director, told AFP. In return, US' chief rivals offered state-of-the-art weapons and large-scale investment deals.

"It was not Trump who raised it. Trump never raised it, honestly", Roque said.

Within months, Duterte downgraded security ties with America, threatening to expel United States soldiers stationed in the Philippines and cancelling major war games in the contested South China Sea. "In the broader region, countries outside of APEC are making broad strides.in the Indo-Pacific", Trump said, referring to a broad swathe of landmass and sea stretching from India all the way to Australia-a term his administration has been using increasingly.

Duterte and Trump have much in common.

The White House later said they discussed the Islamic State group, illegal drugs and trade during the 40-minute meeting. The US president went as far as praising the Filipino leader for doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem".

Towards the end of the meeting with Putin, Duterte divulged plans to appoint "a special envoy for military and to improve trade relations with Russian Federation". Duterte has recognised, albeit reluctantly, the significance of USA alliance in moments of crisis. Government forces killed 920 Maute fighters in the five-month gun battle in Marawi City which ended in October.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, a former defence attache in Washington, thanked the USA for playing a "vital" role in defeating ISIL elements in Marawi.

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A photo posted by Duterte's aide on Facebook showed the two men smiling along with their officials, who also raised their fists against the backdrop of Japanese and Philippine flags. Instead, Trump said he and Duterte have "had a great relationship" and avoided questions about whether he'd raise human rights concerns with the Filipino leader during a private meeting. Duterte's office issued a statement, saying he regretted the comment.

This is their second meeting since Duterte's official visited to Moscow in May.

"The United States has to be treated fairly and in a reciprocal fashion", Trump tweeted before heading back to Washington, where he is scheduled to arrive later Tuesday. Responding to the criticism, Mr Duterte recently moved to take his controversial drugs campaign out of direct control of the police.

Adding to a sense of supreme confidence ahead of the event, Duterte on Thursday also proposed hosting a global summit on human rights in which all nations would be placed under the microscope.

This will likely anger their liberal critics at home, but will keep one of the world's longest-standing alliances on an even keel.

But, given Trump's affection for strongman leaders, Duterte will most likely receive a free pass on murdering his own citizens.


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