Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Philippines president says South China Sea row 'better left untouched'

Philippines president says South China Sea row 'better left untouched'

Progressive solons protested yesterday the arrival of United States President Donald Trump, as they warned President Duterte against "idolizing" the "No. 1 war-mongering fascist president of the world".

Philippines President Duterte recommended avoiding confrontation and leaving the situation in the disputed South China Sea "untouched".

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".

Giant lanterns from San Fernando, Pampanga, which showcased the 50 years of the regional bloc, greeted the leaders as arrived at the venue.

Trump is expected to try during the summit to shore up relations, which have been strained by the mercurial Duterte's notorious anti-U.S. sentiment and his enthusiasm for better ties with Russian Federation and China.

At the start of his meeting with Vietnam's president Tran Dai Quang, he said he was prepared to act as mediator between claimants to the South China Sea, which include Vietnam and China.

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.

Duterte is hosting Trump and over a dozen other heads of government for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and East Asia Summits.

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"Trump is the CEO of the imperialist government of the USA, said 18-year-old student Alexis Danday after the protesters were scattered".

The two met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese resort city of Danang.

"The neo-liberal pillars of ASEAN such as deregulation, privatization and deregulation are historically proven to throw Filipino poor to inescapable cycle of poverty and misery, and at present with US President Trump's attendance, the world is being pushed to the brink of a nuclear war via his aggressive threats against North Korea", Casilao said.

Duterte, 72, a year ago branded then-US president Barack Obama a "son of a whore" for criticising the drug war.

Philippine presidential spokesman Harry Roque told CNN before the visit that he sees Trump and Duterte as "very much alike".

Last Friday, Duterte said he expected an "interesting time" with Trump during their meeting in Manila.

Though Trump administration officials said the President would address human rights with the Philippine leader, national security adviser H.R. McMaster downplayed the importance of addressing human rights in Asia before Trump's trip. "What the President is doing is being effective".

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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