Duterte says he has yet to accept Trump invitation

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 01 2017 05:12 PM

MANILA- A busy President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to accept the invitation of United States President Donald Trump to visit Washington.

Speaking to reporters in Davao City, Duterte said he has not made any confirmation due to other commitments.

"I’m tied up I cannot make any definite promise...I’m supposed to go to Russia, Israel..." he said.

Trump invited Duterte to the White House "to discuss the importance of the United States-Philippines alliance, which is now heading in a very positive direction," the US Office of the Press Secretary said in a statement.

The invitation was made over a phone call after the Filipino leader hosted other Southeast Asian leaders in the 30th ASEAN Summit. 

Asked for more details on their phone call, Duterte said he expressed Manila and other Southeast Asian leaders' concerns over tensions between the US and North Korea.

"It is the concern of everybody not only us but the ASEAN guys," Duterte said.

"I said Mr. President, you cannot scare Kim Jong Un with firepower," he said.

Ties between Manila and Washington took a positive turn since Trump assumed office. 

Unlike former US President Barack Obama, Trump has not openly criticized Duterte's anti-narcotics campaign which has resulted to over 7,000 deaths.