Trump to Meet With Controversial Philippine President During Trip to Asia

October 23, 2017, 7:02 PM UTC

U.S. president Donald Trump plans to meet with Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte during a 12-day Asia trip in November, the White House revealed on Monday. In addition to the Philippines, Trump will also visit South Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, and Hawaii.

The bulk of the trip will spent pushing for a tougher line on North Korea and pushing U.S. economic interests in the region, according to a Bloomberg report. In recent months tensions with North Korea have intensified as the country continues a series of missile tests. In response, the United Nations and U.S. increased economic sanctions on the country as Trump used Twitter to lash out at the North Korea’s leader Kim Jung Un, referring to him as “Little Rocket Man.”

In South Korea, Trump will visit Camp Humphreys at the invitation of Korean President Moon Jae-in. It is unclear if he will visit the border between North and South Korea, known as the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ. If he does not, he’ll be the first U.S. president since Ronald Reagan to not visit the DMZ. (George H.W. Bush did not visit as president, but did as vice president.) Current vice president Mike Pence visited the DMZ earlier this year.

In addition to his South Korea visit, Trump will meet with Chinese president Xi Jinping in China and attend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam, where he may meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin. (The White House has yet to specify.)

Trump will then travel to the Philippines for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. There he will meet with Duterte, who has led the country’s controversial drug war. Human rights organizations have blasted the Philippines over the war on drugs tactic of extrajudicial killings. The latest European Union Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy, adopted last week, said, “Despite positive developments in some areas, the human rights situation in the second half of the year has considerably worsened as a consequence of the so-called ‘war on drugs.'”

On a phone call this spring, Trump previously praised Duterte’s drug war; Trump is expected to discuss human rights with Duterte in his upcoming visit.