Duterte calling media 'spies' gets chuckles from Trump

Mikas Matsuzawa - Philstar.com
Duterte calling media 'spies' gets chuckles from Trump

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, accompanied by U.S. President Donald Trump, left, speaks during a bilateral meeting at the ASEAN Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in Manila, Philippines. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

MANILA, Philippines — US President Donald Trump laughed as President Rodrigo Duterte referred to journalists as spies after American reporters raised questions on human rights.
Duterte made the remarks before the bilateral talks with the US president. Trump also skirted the issue of human rights in the Philippines in their meeting Monday noon on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Manila.
Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque at a press conference on Monday afternoon said Duterte explained his drug war to Trump during their talks, with the latter nodding along during the "lengthy" discussion.
"We would be talking on matters that are of interest of both the Philippines and... With you around guys, you are the spies," Duterte said as he told the press that questions would not be answered as they are not at a news conference.
Human rights is a touchy topic for the Philippine president who had exchanged word wars with critics of his bloody crackdown on drugs.
Duterte also asked Trump to give a statement where the US leader hailed the "great relationship" it has with traditional ally Philippines.
"[W]e've had a great relationship. This has been very successful. We have many meetings today with many other leaders. The ASEAN conference has been handled beautifully by the president and the Philippines and your representatives," Trump said.
He also praised the good weather in the country and the welcome he received.
"But we very much appreciate the great treatment you have given us. I thought last night's event was fantastic, tremendous talent. Most of them, I guess, from the Philippines. But tremendous talent. Musical talent, dance talent and we really had a tremendous time, all of the leaders," Trump said referring to the gala dinner Sunday night.
Duterte sang the Filipino love song "Ikaw" with OPM legend Pilita Corrales during the gala dinner, saying lightheartedly that he did so upon the request of Trump.
The two firebrand leaders both have a tense relationship with media with media. Trump had called news reports on his alleged links with Russia as fake news. Duterte, on the other hand, had echoed Trump's accusation against the media, calling it "dishonest" over what he deemed as unfair coverage.
The press also got a scolding from the Philippine president for reporting his words.

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