Trump says Duterte fighting drugs 'the right way'

(iStock)
(iStock)

Manila - US President-elect Donald Trump told Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte that Manila was conducting its deadly drug war "the right way", Duterte said on Saturday, in stark contrast to the criticism he received from President Barack Obama.

The Philippine president called Trump to congratulate him on his election victory with Trump wishing him "success" in his controversial anti-crime crackdown, in which about 4 800 people have been killed since June, according to Duterte.

War on drugs

"He was quite sensitive also to our worry about drugs. And he wishes me well... in my campaign and he said that... we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way," Duterte said in a statement on Saturday.

Duterte, 71, launched an unprecedented war on drugs that drew a wave of global criticism with Obama urging the leader in September to conduct his campaign "the right way" following concerns over alleged extrajudicial killings.

Trump's office released a brief statement following the conversation, saying Duterte had congratulated Trump and the two agreed to work together closely.

Duterte won presidential elections in May after pledging to kill tens of thousands of drug suspects, warning that otherwise the Philippines would turn into a narco-state.

Since assuming office, he has called on police and even civilians to kill drug users.

Good rapport

Duterte also said he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts and likened his campaign to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's efforts to exterminate Jews in Europe.

In October Duterte announced a "separation" from the United States and had called for the withdrawal of American troops from his country, putting into question Manila's 70-year-old alliance with Washington.

But on Saturday, Duterte said he "could sense a good rapport" with an "animated" Trump.


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