President Trump will meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during a marathon trip to Asia next month, the White House announced Monday.
“The President’s travel will underscore his commitment to long-standing United States alliances and partnerships, and reaffirm United States leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
Duterte is hosting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference in Manila. The Philippine leader has come under international criticism for his administration’s brutal crackdown on drug trafficking, which has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings.
Trump has spoken with Duterte by telephone, and has not directly denounced Duterte’s actions. In May, Trump and Duterte had a “friendly discussion” that included an invitation for Duterte to visit the White House, the White House said at the time.
The invitation prompted criticism and spurred questions about whether the United States should extend an invitation to a leader accused of human rights abuses.
Then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, interviewed Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” said such outreach to Southeast Asian nations is important in countering the North Korean threat.
The Duterte meeting was not announced when the White House first laid out Trump’s itinerary for his visit to China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines. The trip was announced in September amid escalating tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
The Nov. 3-14 trip will be Trump’s first to the region as president. The White House provided a more detailed schedule of his events Monday.
He will stop in Hawaii on his way to Asia on Nov. 3 and tour the USS Arizona memorial to the Pearl Harbor attack, the White House said.
In Japan on Nov. 5-6, Trump will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the White House said. Trump will also visit with American service members stationed in Japan, as well as Japanese service members and families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea.
In South Korea on Nov. 7, Trump will meet with President Moon Jae-in and address the National Assembly, “where he will celebrate the enduring alliance and friendship between the United States and the Republic of Korea, and call on the international community to join together in maximizing pressure on North Korea,” the White House said. He will also visit with American service members stations in South Korea, and with South Korean service members.
Trump will be in Beijing for two days beginning Nov. 8 for “bilateral, commercial, and cultural events, including meetings with President Xi Jinping,” the White House said.
Trump will travel to Danang, Vietnam, on Nov. 10 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economic leaders’ summit. He is set to deliver a speech at the APEC CEO Summit that the White House said “will present the United States’ vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region and underscore the important role the region plays in advancing America’s economic prosperity.”
The session is also likely to focus on Trump’s decision to cancel the Obama administration’s proposed Asian trade pact as well as the rising threat from North Korea.
In Hanoi on Nov. 11, Trump will meet with President Tran Dai Quang and other senior Vietnamese leaders. In Manila, on Nov. 12-13, Trump will participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations annual meeting and meet with Duterte and other leaders.