We'll buy arms from Russia, Philippines' Duterte tells Putin

From ‘sons of bitches’ to 'best friends': Duterte on US as Trump summit looms

Trump was in the Philippines to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference and the East Asia Summit.

"I believe that he feels that he and Russian Federation did not meddle in the election", Trump said of Putin at a news conference in Hanoi with Vietnam's president.

Duterte - sometimes described "Trump of the East" because of his brash and mercurial style - had said on Wednesday that he would tell the US president to "lay off" if he raised the issue of human rights when they met. In December 2016, he said that during his time as mayor, he had personally killed at least three people. Maybe he would even go further, ignoring Duterte's directive to "lay off". Instead, Trump said he and Duterte "had a great relationship", and avoided questions about whether he raised human rights concerns in a meeting with the Philippine leader. The White House says the two will not hold a formal meeting in Vietnam.

Describing economic security as national security, Trump outlined his vision of a "free and open Indo-Pacific", where all countries played by the rules and engaged in fair trade to achieve prosperity.

"I think you'll see a number of things that come out of the two summits, as well, in the way of cooperation and initiatives between the United States and ASEAN and some of the individual member states", the official said.

In a speech to business leaders from the Asia Pacific Economic Community (APEC) in Da Nang in Vietnam, Trump slammed countries engaged in what he termed unfair trade practices and trade abuses.

But critics warn the gesture has come to represent the brutalities of Duterte's drug war, which has claimed thousands of lives. And nearly all of them also have the same problem. Duterte's scorched-earth campaign has reportedly claimed thousands of lives since 2016, drawing condemnation from human rights groups, worldwide media and Western capitals.

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And both repeatedly claim widespread popular support, contrary to data (although Duterte does seem to have the edge in actual popular backing).

Regardless of whether Trump directly praises Duterte's programme, or says nothing about it at all, his mere presence will be interpreted as a signal to law enforcement there, in the United States, and elsewhere that corruption and criminal violence in the service of a policy goal is acceptable. Bishop had previously criticized the drug war.

"(They) should deny the architect of this human rights calamity the worldwide recognition he undeservedly craves".

"How much more now that I am President?" he concluded, to laughter from the audience.

"On the grounds of what both Duterte and Trump (have) done and (are) continuously doing, it is not that they do not understand the concept of human and people's rights, it is that they just do not care", Palabay said in a statement.

Trump, on the other hand, has embraced Duterte - with a senior administration official saying before the trip that "there's a warm rapport there".