Major Announcement on Trade Coming Wednesday, Trump Says

Xinhua  Sipa USA  Newscom

Xinhua Sipa USA Newscom

Donald Trump said on Tuesday that strong U.S. ties with the Philippines were vital for military reasons, as he ended a trip to Manila, the last stop on his tour of Asia.

Duterte sang a Filipino love song at the dinner, saying lightheartedly that he did so on the orders of the United States president.

Duterte has overseen a bloody drug war that has featured extrajudicial killings.

Medvedev said Russia-U.S. relations are "at the lowest point in decades" and that "our relations have degraded day after day".

The US president said he had repaired relations with the Philippines, which soured previous year when the administration of former president Barack Obama criticised Duterte's drug war. There was no mention of extralegal killings. But given the administration's lack of credibility in raising human rights abuses, he said, they have pivoted to a different tack, focusing on global attention.

Duterte on Monday also thanked Russian Federation for supplying guns and other weapons that he said helped defeat Islamist militants in the southern Philippine city of Marawi.

"The two sides underscored that human rights and the dignity of human life are essential, and agreed to continue mainstreaming the human rights agenda in their national programs to promote the welfare of all sectors, including the most vulnerable groups", the two sides said in a joint statement.

The White House later said the two leaders discussed the Islamic State group, illegal drugs and trade during the 40-minute meeting.

Yuri Kirdyushkin and Anastasia Novopashina were under investigation for drug smuggling but had not been convicted, Duterte said.

"I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem", Trump told Duterte, according to a transcript of the conversation that later leaked. "I've really enjoyed being here". The government has even been accused of paying vigilantes to kill drug users.

Duterte's administration recently cut off trade with North Korea - a positive move for Trump as he tries to isolate Kim Jong-un.

Advisers have said that while Trump was always unlikely to publicly chastise the Philippine president, he may offer criticisms behind closed doors. Human rights groups believe the victim total is far higher, perhaps closer to 9,000.

Trump also proposed that all summit members adopt a statement reaffirming their commitment to the elimination of chemical weapons.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that his country remained committed to building a strong and resilient Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). That cross-body handshake, during which each leader shakes the opposite hands of those next to him or her, briefly baffled Trump, who then laughed as he figured out where to place his arms.

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