President Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday Donald Trump wished his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs would succeed during a telephone call, and he assured the U.S. president-elect the Philippines would maintain its ties with America — a departure from Duterte's hostility toward the Obama administration.
Duterte called to congratulate Trump late Friday in their first talk that was described by an aide of the Philippine president as "very engaging, animated conversation" in which both leaders invited each other to visit his country.
In a video released by Duterte's close aide, Bong Go, the Philippine leader is seen smiling while talking to Trump and saying: "We will maintain ... and enhance the bilateral ties between our two countries."
The other parts of the conversation were not aired in the video but in a statement released by his aides, Duterte said "he was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem."
"He understood the way we are handling it and I said that there's nothing wrong in protecting a country," Duterte said. "It was a bit very encouraging in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that we would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country."
"He said that ... well, we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way," Duterte said in his statement. It was unclear whether he or Trump remarked that the widely criticized crackdown was being carried out properly.