During the last stop of his Asia trip, President Trump openly praised Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, saying the two had a “great relationship.” Since Duterte was elected in 2016, more than 7,000 people have been extrajudicially killed by police or vigilantes. According to Duterte’s spokesperson, Trump did not raise any concerns about Duterte’s human rights record.
Harry Roque: “Well, there was no mention of human rights. There was no mention of extralegal killings. There was only a rather lengthy discussion about the Philippine ‘war on drugs,’ with President Duterte doing most of the explaining.”
Trump and Duterte also refused to take questions from the media. When reporters attempted to ask about human rights, Duterte called the reporters “spies,” which reportedly made Trump laugh.
Nov 13, 2017
Prior to Trump’s arrival in the Philippines, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy. Police fired water cannons to disperse the protesters. This is Renato Reyes, the head of the New Patriotic Alliance.
Renato Reyes: “Trump is no friend to the Filipino people. He brings war. He brings economic impositions. He wants to bring the U.S. ‘war on terror’ in the Philippines. He wants to drag us in the conflict of North Korea. He wants to bring back U.S. bases in the Philippines. These are things that are not beneficial to the Filipino people.”
Nov 13, 2017
ASEAN Summit Blasted for Silence on Burmese Persecution of Rohingya
President Trump was in Manila for the opening of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN. The regional body is facing criticism for failing to address the crisis in Burma, where the United Nations has accused Burma of waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslims. Burmese leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi spoke in Manila but did not mention the crisis. Aung San Suu Kyi was once a critic of ASEAN’s policy of non-interference. In 1999, when she was fighting for democracy in Burma, she wrote, “This policy of non-interference is just an excuse for not helping. In this day and age, you cannot avoid interference in the matters of other countries.”
President Trump Calls North Korea’s Kim Jong-un “Short and Fat”
In other news from Asia, the U.S. and North Korea openly traded insults over the weekend. North Korea described Trump as a “warmonger” and an “old lunatic.” Trump responded on Twitter by writing, “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’”
Former Intelligence Chiefs Dispute Trump on Russia Election Meddling
Former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have openly criticized President Trump after he cast doubts on the intelligence community’s findings about Russian meddling in the 2016 election. During a conversation with reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials and questioned the conclusions of the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies. Trump said about Putin, “Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.” Trump went on to describe Brennan and Clapper as political hacks. Trump later walked back his remarks, saying he accepts the opinion of the U.S. intelligence agencies.
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