White House defends Trump invitation to Duterte despite human rights criticism

Lauren Perry
May 3, 2017

Coming back to Trump's presidency, he said 'We are 100 days in, 1030 days to go.

He's condoned the extrajudicial killing of drug dealers and users and even claimed to have killed several criminals himself, which prompted United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein to suggest Duterte be investigated for murder. During just the first six months of his tenure, Duterte reportedly killed more than 6,000 people as part of a crackdown on the country's drug trade.

The invitation for Mr. Duterte appeared to be the latest example of the affinity Mr. Trump has shown for some foreign leaders with shaky human rights or autocratic reputations. They say had they been consulted on the matter, they would have strenuously objected to extending the invitation.

Last fall, amid frustrations with President Obama, who he repeatedly referred to as a "son of a whore", Duterte told Chinese leaders during that he wanted to abandon the Philippines' longstanding close military and economic ties with the United States in favor of closer relations with China: "America has lost now. And so that set aside, I think the president recognizes the threat that he posed and is doing everything he can to isolate that threat and to make sure we bring stability to the region".

John Sifton of Human Rights Watch criticized Trump's invitation as an endorsement of Duterte's policies.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared in a speech on New Year's Day that his country's program to build intercontinental ballistic missiles had "reached its final stage".

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Priebus made clear that North Korea was the top priority.

"The President gets fully briefed on the leaders that he's speaking to, obviously", Spicer said at his daily press briefing when asked if Trump was aware of Duterte's human rights abuses.

The invitation prompted United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein to say that Trump must convey to Duterte the worldwide alarm the latter's war on drugs has caused.

In addition to accusations about relying on death squads in his native country, Duterte has threatened to assassinate Filipino journalists, boasted about personally executing people without so much as a hint of due process, and before taking office, spoke openly about his willingness to commit rape.

Did US President Donald Trump invite a "mass murderer" to the White House when he asked Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte over for a visit? But last October, Duterte indicated he was ready to turn away from the longtime ties between the Philippines and the United States and would welcome support from China and Russian Federation.

Abella said in a statement that "the discussion that transpired between the presidents was warm, with President Trump expressing his understanding and appreciation of the challenges facing the Philippine president, especially on the matter of unsafe drugs".

Other reports by VgToday

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