A meeting between Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and United States President Donald Trump is being planned, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said.
“President Trump has already invited President Duterte to visit Washington. It’s a question of scheduling as to when President Duterte would make a visit to the US,” Kim said.
“There is strong interest in both sides in facilitating the visit to Washington. We will continue to work at it,” Kim said.
Kim said the two leaders have forged a “very strong relationship.” Trump met with Duterte in Manila on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in November 2017, where they discussed issues on drug menace, terrorism, and trade issues.
“The two gentlemen have shared much in common including on the importance of rule of law even as the Philippines continues to pursue the serious challenge of illegal drugs in the Philippines,” Kim said.
“We understand that the drug issue is a huge challenge for the Philippines, we understand that President Duterte is so focused on that big problem and we will continue to work with the Philippine government,” Kim said.
US has been providing Manila support in areas such as demand reduction and drug rehabilitation efforts.
Among others, US has also established law enforcement cooperation with the Philippine National Police and other agencies in the country.
“Our robust law enforcement cooperation will continue and it is important both sides agree on the importance of rule of law and respect for human rights as we proceed with efforts to deal with the drug problem,” Kim said.
Kim noted the two countries’ growing partnership from defeating terrorists in Marawi City to rebuilding it after its liberation in October 2017.
“We worked together to defeat the terrorist attack on Marawi City and now we’re supporting the government’s efforts to rebuild Marawi,” Kim said.
Kim also said the economic partnership between the two countries continues to be “very strong.”
“We welcome the Philippines interest in doing a free trade agreement with US and of course President Trump had a wonderful visit to the Philippine in November, so I think the relationship is in great shape and I think the future of the relationship is very bright,” Kim said.
DUTERTE-TRUMP MEETING. President Rodrigo R. Duterte and US President Donald Trump discuss matters during a bilateral meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on November 13, 2017. (Presidential Photo)