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Trump is scheduled to call President Duterte "anytime soon"

Palace officials upbeat over Duterte-Trump phone call
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines — Top government officials are upbeat over the impending phone conversation between President Duterte and United States President Donald Trump, seeing it as a move toward strengthening bilateral relations.

A ranking Palace official said Trump may reiterate his invitation to Duterte to visit the US when they talk over the phone “anytime soon.”

“President Trump has a good relationship with President Duterte, especially for his (Duterte’s) character and strong leadership. And also, President Trump looks forward to see him (at the) ASEAN (-US special summit), especially at this time,” a Malacañang insider told The STAR in an interview over the weekend.

It was Panelo who first told reporters last Friday that a phone conversation between the two presidents is set to take place “soon” amid high-level discussions in Manila for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US.

Palace sources welcomed the announcement, saying it would be a good time for Trump and Duterte to talk, and even consider the US leader’s invitation to the US-ASEAN special summit in Las Vegas, Nevada next month.

Panelo had noted that Duterte and Trump are “good friends,” citing no problems if the two leaders would talk to each other over the phone while the fate of the VFA hangs in the balance.

Duterte has regarded Trump as a “good friend,” praising him every now and then.

During their previous phone conversation in early 2017, Trump had reciprocated the goodwill, congratulating Duterte for his “unbelievable job” in addressing the illegal drugs problem in the country.

Trump also made good his promise to attend the ASEAN-US special summit when the Philippines hosted it in November 2017. In their meeting in Manila, the US leader also lauded his “great relationship” with Duterte.

When the two leaders talk again, Panelo could only guess that Duterte may congratulate Trump for overcoming the challenge of impeachment, which was recently junked by the US Senate.

But whether or not the impending phone conversation would touch on the VFA, Malacañang officials asked by The STAR said they would rather not speculate.

Trump is scheduled to call President Duterte "anytime soon" Trump is scheduled to call President Duterte "anytime soon" Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 4:07:00 PM Rating: 5

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