In the same month, he called then-President Barack Obama a “son of a whore“, leading Obama to cancel a meeting between the two leaders at the 2016 ASEAN summit. He’s also compared himself to Adolf Hitler. Although less polarizing internationally, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha took control in a 2014 coup, consolidated military power and repeatedly postponed elections. In so doing, Mr. Trump sends Asians the message that there is no difference between China’s amoral foreign policy and that of this USA administration.

Rodrigo Duterte may not accept Donald Trump’s invitation to visit the White House after all. “He wishing me success in my campaign on the drug problem”, Duterte said.

“You know he’s very popular in the Philippines”, Trump said. Despite the evidence that being “very, very tough” has amounted to Duterte flouting the laws, Trump seemed reassured by the Philippine president’s high approval rating. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is hosting the 10-nation Southeast Asian bloc’s foreign ministers this week.

Trump invited Duterte for a visit after a “very friendly” call on Saturday.

The DFA said Trump apparently wants to consult USA allies and strategic partners in Asia on how to approach the tensions generated by North Korea’s threatening actions.

Duterte is also known for his foul language in lambasting the United States on a near-daily basis for what he calls a history of hypocrisy.

Duterte’s term has been marked with accusations of human rights violations. Both have embraced China.

Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, defended the call on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday when he said the USA needs to deal with Duterte, despite his human rights records, in order to help calm escalating tensions in North Korea.

“The Trump administration has been unfortunately silent as to the importance of American values”, said Maryland Sen.

The U.S. has been pressuring China to do more to stop Pyongyang from further missile and nuclear tests.

MalacaƱang’s assessment comes a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping called Duterte to discuss the tense situation in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.

The Asia director of Human Rights Watch told the Times “By essentially endorsing Duterte’s murderous war on drugs, Trump is now morally complicit in future killings”.

Trump, who plans to visit Manila this fall for a regional summit, has set a new tone.

In Mr Xi’s follow-up to Mr Trump’s overture, he pledged to deepen ties with the Philippines and called the country a “friendly neighbour”, according to Chinese news media reports.