By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is planning to deal with US President Donald Trump “in the most righteous way” when he visits the country for a regional summit next month.
The President said he intends to raise the regional threat posed by North Korea as well as stronger cooperation in the campaign against terrorism and illegal drugs during his meeting with Trump.
“I would deal with President Trump in the most righteous way, welcome him as an important leader, as a matter of fact, the important leader on this side of the planet,” Duterte said during a press conference before leaving for Tokyo on Sunday night.
“I would have to listen to him what he has to say. My responses would be calibrated of what he would ask me,” he added.
Duterte said he has not personally met Trump but noticed that he and the US President “move our mouths in the same cadence.”
Trump is scheduled to visit Manila to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and related meetings on November 12 and 13. Prior to the ASEAN summit in Manila, Trump and Duterte are scheduled to join other leaders for the the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam.
Ahead of the meeting with Trump, the President has urged the US to stop threatening North Korea and instead assure Kim Jong-un that there are no plans to oust him from his office. Duterte made the suggestion in a bid to de-escalate the tension in the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.
“Just tell him that nobody’s threatening him, that there will be no war, and that if he can just tone down or stand down, stop the threats, and that would be the same for America,” he said.
“Just to assure him that nobody’s after you, and America is not about ready to destroy a generation or a nation of people,” he added.
The President said the North Korea issue would be high on the agenda when he meets Trump during the regional summit.
“The main or the opening agenda would really be Korea. We are worried, all of us, that you know, Murphy’s Law, ‘If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.’ So, that has always been a problem for us,” he said.
The two leaders are also expected to discuss cooperation to combat terrorism and other transnational crimes such as drug trafficking.
“It would be terrorism, cooperation between the two countries, the fight against drugs, and all of these, I said, I expect to be dealing with him around these topics,” Duterte said.
He noted that Trump has recently declared America’s opioid crisis as a public healthy emergency. Duterte however pointed out that the country’s drug problem, which implicated government officials, was different from the crisis in the US.
“These are on the level of a societal problem. It’s not a problem of law and order. There are no warlords there. Maybe illegal handguns, very few far and in between, not the kind of the drug problem that we have here. That including mayors and barangay captains are affected heavily,” he said.
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