11:25 GMT21 October 2020
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    President Donald Trump discussed with his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte a wide range of issues on Sunday, including the United States-Philippines alliance and the North Korean "threat."

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Trump held a phone conversation with Duterte, invited him to visit Washington, the White House said on Sunday.

    "President Trump enjoyed the conversation and said that he is looking forward to visiting the Philippines in November to participate in the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Summit. President Trump also invited President Duterte to the White House to discuss the importance of the the United States-Philippines alliance, which is now heading in a very positive direction," the statement released by the White House said.

    The two leaders also discussed the issues of regional security, "including the threat posed by North Korea," and the fight against drugs in the Philippines, the statement said.

    The situation on the Korean peninsula escalated over the past few months as North Korea carried out a series of missile launches and nuclear tests. The latest of the tests was conducted on Saturday, with the missile reportedly exploding shortly after the launch.

    Duterte, a former city mayor with a crime-fighting reputation, was sworn in as president in late June 2016 on promises to crack down on illegal drugs and put an end to drug-related crimes in the country. Shortly after taking office, Duterte launched a large-scale anti-drug campaign, with the police killing thousands of people during anti-drug operations over the months. The campaign has been widely criticized by international officials, including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Hussein.

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