Trump-Duterte bilateral meeting affirms PH-US ties

CHEERS. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (C) stands as his partner Honeylet Avancena (R) toasts US President Donald Trump during a special gala celebration dinner for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila on November 12, 2017. AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON

US President Donald Trump reaffirmed on Monday the “great relationship” between the Philippines and America, a relationship which somehow soured because of uncalled for comments on the Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs made by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump and Duterte met briefly at the APEC Summit in Vietnam just days back, but their bilateral meeting is their very first since the two leaders got themselves elected presidents.

The much-anticipated Trump-Duterte meeting was held at the Coconut Palace in Pasay City.  “We’ve had a great relationship,” Trump told Duterte. “This has been very successful.”

Trump extended his appreciation to the Philippines as host of this year’s meetings.

‘Great treatment’

“We very much appreciate the great treatment that you have given. I thought last night’s event was fantastic, tremendous talent,” he said.

According to Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano, the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Trump focused on strengthening security cooperation and increasing trade, as the two countries explore possibilities of entering into a free trade agreement.

“There is no doubt there is ill feeling, there were hills and valleys in our relationship with US especially at the latter end during the Obama administration but it’s been repaired and it’s beeng strengthened with President Trump,” he said.

“The diplomacy in the end is also personal relations that’s why if the administration officials don’t get along but the people to people ay malakas, malakas pa rin yung relationship but if the people don’t get along but the leaders get along, they can manage to strengthen it,” he said.


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