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Duterte: Trump Wished Him Success With Anti-Drug Crackdown

  • VOA News

FILE - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Oct. 20, 2016.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says U.S. President-elect Donald Trump wished him success with his crackdown on drug dealers; a campaign that has left more than 4,000 dead since July.

Duterte said the future U.S. leader told him he was conducting his strike on drug dealers "as a sovereign nation, the right way."

Duterte won the presidential election earlier this year largely based on his promise to continue aggressively targeting drug dealers, users and criminals.

Duterte said in a statement that he called Trump late Friday to congratulate him on winning the U.S. presidential election. The Philippine leader said he sensed a "good rapport" with Trump.

Since taking office, Duterte has lashed out at Washington, throwing uncertainty into relations between the longtime allies. Diplomatic relations between Washington and Manila soured after Duterte lashed out at the U.S. for criticizing his bloody anti-narcotic crackdown.

In October, Duterte warned that the Philippines would not be treated "like a dog with a leash" by Washington. He said the U.S. could "forget" about the decades-old bilateral defense treaty if he stayed in power "long enough."

Duterte has saved the worst of his anger for U.S. President Barack Obama, whom he has called a "son of a whore."

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