Duterte: Trump says Philippines tackling drug problem 'the right way'

Story highlights

  • Duterte invited Trump to the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit
  • Trump invited Duterte to New York, Washington

(CNN)President-elect Donald Trump told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that he is going about his controversial fight against drugs "the right way," Duterte said.

Duterte says he was greatly pleased with the "rapport" he had with the newly elected U.S. president..
Duterte made the comments to reporters in Davao City on Saturday after a brief phone call last night with President-elect Donald Trump. Government officials earlier passed along snippets of their conversation.
    "He was quite sensitive to our war on drugs and he wishes me well in my campaign and said that we are doing, as he so put it, 'the right way,' " the President said.
    Washington has been critical of the Philippines handling of drug dealers, including extrajudical killings -- government executions without the benefit of judicial proceedings. That has sparked Duterte's resentment.
    Duterte's verbal tirades and tilt away from Washington have raised many eyebrows since he took office in May.
    While on a trip to China in October, Duterte said that "America has lost," and that he has realigned himself with China's "ideological flow." He later clarified his comments about relations with the United States saying he was rather pursuing a "separation of foreign policy" from the US.
    But Duterte was pleased over the exchange with Trump.
    He described Trump as "animated" and said they talked about "a lot of things." Duterte said he told Trump Filipinos "are tight with America" and wished Trump success.
    "He was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem. He understood the way we are handling it and he said there is nothing wrong with protecting your country. It was very encouraging in the sense that I suppose that what he wanted to say was that he would be the last to interfere in the affairs of our own country. "
    Both men extended travel invitations to the other.
    "He has invited me to visit New York and Washington DC. He said if I am around he wants to be notified of my presence. And I mentioned to him about the ASEAN Summit next year and he said he would try his best to be here. He wants to attend the summit and that would be great for our country. I could sense a good rapport."
    Trump's transition team passed along a comment about the call but didn't mention Duterte's war on drugs.
    "Duterte "offered his congratulatory wishes to President-elect Trump. In their conversation, they noted the long history of friendship and cooperation between the two nations, and agreed that the two governments would continue to work together closely on matters of shared interest and concern."