Anti-Trump protesters, police engage in brief scuffle in Manila

Posted November 13, 2017

Trump and Duterte shook hands during a dinner in Manila for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, according to White House pool reports. They were anxious that the United States intervention in the southern Philippines could worsen the situation, which is still recovering from battle against Islamist militants.

The Philippines had been the most vigorous critic of Chinese territorial claims, but Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has recently dialed back his country's objections, leaving Vietnam as the leading critic.

Trump will meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, where he will try to shore up relations strained by the mercurial Duterte's notorious anti-U.S. sentiment and his enthusiasm for better ties with Russian Federation and China.

When a senior US official said two weeks ago that there was "a warm rapport" between the two administrations, Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said it "suggests a stunning apathy toward the human rights calamity that Duterte has inflicted on the Philippines since taking office".

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Human rights organizations say they are concerned that Trump will give Duterte a free pass on his drug war crackdown, by failing to mention the issue during his multi-day visit. "At the age of 16", he said, "I already killed someone".

The Philippine leader also lashed out again at United Nations human rights expert Agnès Callamard, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions.

On Saturday afternoon, youth groups led by the Anakbayan also trooped to the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), one of the venues for the ASEAN meetings.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the European Union have all criticised the controversial leader for previous statements that appear to suggest the opposite.

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In 2016, after noting that Hitler slaughtered millions of Jewish people during the Holocaust, Duterte said: "There are 3 million drug addicts (in the Philippines.) I'd be happy to slaughter them". A real person, a rumble, a stabbing. "How much more now that I am president?"

"When I was a teenager, I was in and out of jail", said President Duterte.

Briefing reporters in Beijing during the China leg of Trump's Asia tour, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US view on the maritime dispute hadn't changed - that "claimants should stop construction and militarization" of disputed islands.

In a letter to Trump, members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on Capitol Hill urged Trump to address the extrajudicial killings.

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