According to Filipino officials, President Donald Trump smoothed over relations between the U.S. and Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, with whom he shared a mutual dislike of former President Barack Obama.
“They’ve been very candid in their dealings, and it’s very apparent that both of them have a person who they consider as not their best friend. They have similar feelings toward former U.S. President Barack Obama," Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque said, according to Bloomberg.
Duterte cursed out Obama after the former president criticized his conduct in the country's war on drugs. While reporting on the Duterte and Trump's discussion about the country's drug war, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed that the two discussed human rights.
But according to Roque, Trump never mentioned human rights. “There was no mention of extrajudicial killings. There was only a rather lengthy discussion about the Philippine war on drugs with President Duterte doing most of the explaining," Roque said.
As Bloomberg noted, thousands have died in Duterte's drug war. Obama previously called on Duterte to fight the drug war “in a way that's consistent with basic, international norms.”
That didn't go over too well with Duterte, who, as suggested by his foreign secretary, Alan Peter Cayetano, appeared to find better relations with Trump as opposed to his predecessor.
“There is no doubt that there were some ill feelings, there were some hills and valleys in our relationship with the U.S., especially at the latter end of the Obama administration,” Cayetano said.
“But it’s been repaired and strengthened by President Trump," he added.