‘Strained’ PH-US ties seen to improve after Duterte-Trump talk
Malacañang on Saturday said the strained relationship between the Philippines and the United States (US) would start to improve after the phone conversation with President Rodrigo Duterte and US President-elect Donald Trump.
“So I believe also, pwede po natin masabi at this stage na mukhang gumaganda ang relasyon natin with the US,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in an interview with government-run dzRB radio.
(So I believe also, we can say that at this stage, it seems like our relationship with the US is improving.)
On Friday night, Duterte and Trump had a “very engaging and animated phone conversation.”
During their conversation, Duterte said “he could sense a good rapport” with Trump.
The two leaders talked about the Philippines’ war on drugs, which Duterte said had the support of Trump.
“I could sense a good rapport, an animated President-elect Trump. And he was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem,” he said.
“And he wishes me well too, in my campaign and he said that… well we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way. And he wishes us well. And I said that, well, we assured him of our ties with America,” he added.
The Philippines’ strained relationship with the US started after Duterte’s no-nonsense crackdown on illegal drugs received criticisms from US President Barack Obama.
Obama’s comments did not sit well with Duterte who has repeatedly slammed the US leader for interfering in our domestic affairs.
But with the Trump Presidency, Abella said Duterte might tone down his expletive-laced attacks against the US.
“Ang sabi nga, ang pagkakasabi ng Presidente, ‘meron kaming good rapport,’ ang sabi is, na nagkakaintindihan sila so I believe that the relationship between President Duterte and President Donald Trump will reflect also in our relationship with America, with other nations,” Abella said.
(The way the President said it, “we had good rapport,” what was said was that they understand each other, so I believe the relationship between President Duterte and President Donald Trump will reflect also in our relationship with America, with other nations.)
The Palace official said Duterte and Trump “may be very strong in their statements but they always have the national interest at heart.” CDG
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