Duterte, Trump to meet for first time in PH in November


Posted at Sep 30 2017 12:11 PM | Updated as of Sep 30 2017 12:57 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte is set to meet United States President Donald Trump for the first time in November, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Saturday as he vowed a "warm welcome" for the US leader in Manila.

Cayetano made the statement after the White House confirmed Friday that Trump would visit the Philippines as part of a five-nation swing through Asia from Nov. 3 to 14. 

It would be Trump's first visit to the Philippines as President and his first meeting with Duterte, who Cayetano earlier said share mutual admiration. 

The two leaders have been compared for their brash language and populist electoral victories.

"President Duterte is looking forward to welcoming President Trump in Manila. Our people are excited to see the first face-to-face meeting between our two leaders," Cayetano said in a statement. 

Trump will come to Manila to participate in the East Asia Summit, which is expected to gather leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the bloc's partner countries for talks on regional issues, including North Korea's nuclear threat.

Cayetano said the visit would highlight "improving relations" between the Philippines and the United States. 

Early in his term, Duterte had shown an acerbic stance towards the country's long-time ally over criticism against his anti-drug campaign. 

The President has, however, softened his tone of late, praising the US for providing technical assistance and relief amid the crisis in Marawi City, where state forces continue to battle Islamic State-linked terrorists. 

"President Trump's visit underscores the improving relations between the Philippines and the United States, which no less than Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told me is on an upward vector," said Cayetano, who had a meeting with his US counterpart earlier this week. 

In an interview on National Public Radio in Washington Thursday, Cayetano also described Philippine-US ties as strong and irreversible.

“The American-Filipino relationship is so resilient that it bounces back right always regardless of personalities and issues,” Cayetano said in the interview.