METRO MANILA – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the United States of America and the Philippines would always be allies, after presidents Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump met in a bilateral talk.
The bilateral talk was held after the opening ceremonies and plenary session of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, held on November 13, 2017.
However, Roque said that Duterte “did acknowledge that there are sour points” in the history of US-Philippines relationship. These “sour points” emerged during the term of former US President Barrack Obama, who criticized the Duterte administration for its alleged perpetration of human rights violation.
In spite of Duterte’s tirades against the US, Trump seemed to like him. In fact, Trump even requested Duterte to sing an old ballad during the lavish gala dinner held on November 12 for the ASEAN delegates.
Aside from maintaining a strong relationship with the Philippines, Trump also emphasized that he would not go against Obama’s “pivot to Asia”. According to Roque, Trump considers ASEAN as a “very important trading region”.
“Precarious Issues” Tackled as Well
The ASEAN leaders also touched issues that have been controversial for a long time. Among these issues are the territorial claims of China on the West Philippine Sea, the North Korean nuclear war threats, the rise of extremism, and China’s relationship to the ASEAN Region.
Roque said that Duterte felt the need to “address the apprehensions of many nations regarding the right of navigation” in the disputed territories. To this query, Chinese President Xi Jinping responded by affirming China’s commitment to a peaceful resolution of territorial crises.
As for the rise of extremism, all ASEAN leaders recognized that the problem of terrorism transcends boundaries.
The ASEAN leaders are expected to end the Summit on November 14, when Duterte would hold another press briefing to reveal more points derived from the meetings.