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Trump to meet with the Philippines' Duterte, who is accused of human rights abuses

 (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

President Trump will meet with the controversial president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, during an upcoming tour of Asia, the White House announced Monday.

Duterte has been accused of egregious human rights abuse in his declared war on drug traffickers, which activists and others have blamed for the slaying of thousands of people, many of them innocent.

Trump has never condemned Duterte. In April, in what White House officials described as a "warm" and "very friendly" telephone call, Trump told Duterte he was doing a "great job," according to the Philippine government's readout of the conversation.

In the call, the White House said, Trump invited Duterte to visit the White House and said U.S.-Philippines relations "were heading in a very positive direction."

Last year, when the Obama administration criticized the killings in the Philippines, Duterte called the then-president a "son of a whore" and threatened to end decades of military and security cooperation with the U.S.

Human Rights Watch estimated that more than 7,000 people were killed in Duterte's first year in office, starting June 30, 2016, in an apparently deliberate campaign of extrajudicial executions.

The White House said Monday that Trump and Duterte will hold bilateral meetings on the margins of the Nov. 13 summit of the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila. Trump is also visiting Vietnam, China, South Korea and Japan on the same Nov. 3-14 trip.


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