HRW to Trump: Seek accountability not WH visit for Duterte

Trump invites Philippines' Duterte to White House in 'friendly' call

USA and Philippine officials said Trump's calls and invitations to several Asian allies including Duterte were aimed at discussing the escalating nuclear crisis in North Korea. Duterte suggested Saturday to his American counterpart to back out from an intensifying standoff with North Korea not in surrender but to avoid risking a nuclear "holocaust" that could affect Asia immensely. An investigation in the Philippine Senate was derailed by Mr. Duterte's allies in Congress, and the senator leading it jailed on drug charges she says were meant to silence her.

While he did not reject the invitation, either, he said he was "tied up" and could not "make any definite promise".

"I can not make any definite promise", Duterte told reporters Monday.

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping over the phone for inviting him to visit China's guided missile destroyer Chang Chun docked in Davao City, MalacaƱang said Wednesday. "His response remains to be seen", Abella said.

Despite Duterte's disturbing rhetoric, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is defending the invitation, noting that keeping Duterte close is important as we deal with the threat of North Korea.

On Saturday, the president spoke with Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte and invited him to the White House. Trump should condemn that, not invite Duterte to break bread at the White House.

Ben Cardin, a ranking member of the foreign relations committee of the U.S. Senate, said he was "deeply disturbed" by the invitation, and said he would this week introduce bipartisan legislation to send a warning to Duterte, which would include a ban on arms sales to the Philippine police. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in a written statement Monday.

"It's not a "thank you", the official said, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity. In December, he told reporters that he "killed about three of them because there were three of them", the New York Times reported. "We were not surprised". "But the number one concern of the president is to make sure we do everything we can to protect our people".

Trump, in an interview with Bloomberg News, said he would "be honored" to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, though "under the right circumstances".

The United States is not in a position to lecture other countries on their human rights record because it is not a beacon of human rights, says Don DeBar, an American journalist and political analyst. At least 4,500 Filipinos were killed in the last five months of 2016 alone as part of the country's war on drugs. By welcoming Duterte, Trump implicitly endorsed the Philippines president's campaign of unlawful extrajudicial killing of thousands of his nation's citizens. The government denies that.

While not endorsing Duterte's war on drugs, the statement did not condemn Duterte's efforts to rid the country of a methamphetamine ("shabu") epidemic and the thousands of deaths occurring since he took office.

Duterte spoke positively about Trump, a fellow populist, after the U.S. presidential election in November, and the new administration has sought ways to mend the alliance.