US President Donald Trump invites Rodrigo Duterte to the White House

Last year, the firebrand Philippine President branded then US-President Barack Obama a "son of a whore" for criticizing his war on drugs.
By Adam Widmer | May 02, 2017
A top official on Monday defended the United States President Donald Trump's invitation to Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte to visit Washington.

According to the official, the need to rally Asian rallies over the North Korea situation overshadow concerns about President Rodrigo Duterte's violent war on drugs.

In the past, Duterte has regularly hit out at the United States, his country's one-time colonial Lord, for perceived hypocrisy over human rights.

Last year, the firebrand Philippine President branded then US-President Barack Obama a "son of a whore" for criticizing his war on drugs.

In a statement on Saturday, the White House said that Trump had invited Duterte during a "friendly" call in which the leaders discussed the Philippine President's fight against drugs and the alliance between the two countries.

The statement touched only briefly on Duterte's controversial crackdown on crime and drugs, which has led to thousands of deaths and drawn widespread international criticism.

But when Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff was quizzed on Sunday why Trump was 'honoring' Duterte with the White House invitation, he replied: "I'm not so sure it's a matter of honoring this president"

Speaking to the ABC News network, Priebus added that the issues developing out of North Korea are serious, and as such, the United States needs cooperation at some level with as many partners in the region as it can get.

Later on Sunday, President Trump also invited the Prime Ministers of Thailand and Singapore for official visits.

Duterte has in the past talked of loosening the long-standing ties with the United States, as he looked to court neighboring China.

At one point, the Philippine leader suggested he may even move to end a 2014 defense agreement that allows the United States access to five military camps in his country.

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