US President Donald Trump met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of an international summit in Manila on November 13.
Trump told reporters that he and Duterte have “a great relationship” and that he has “really enjoyed” being in the Philippines for the annual Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, however, the White House and Duterte’s spokesman gave conflicting accounts on whether the two discussed human rights issues in the meeting.
“Human rights briefly came up in the context of the Philippines’ fight against illegal drugs,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders. She added that the two also discussed the fight against the so-called Islamic State and narcotics.
However, Duterte’s spokesman said that Trump did not raise any human rights concerns during the 40-minute meeting.
The Philippine leader explained his anti-drug policy at length to Trump who “seemed to be appreciative of his efforts,” according to spokesman Harry Roque said.
According to DW, Duterte has been criticised internationally for his war on drugs in which thousands of people have been killed, some of whom in extrajudicial killings. Trump has previously praised Duterte for his handling of the Philippines’ drug problems.