U.S. President Barack Obama is set to meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The leaders are expected to discuss issues of human rights and the two countries’ security plans.
In a report by Reuters, Ben Rhodes, White House Deputy National Security Adviser, told reporters that Duterte’s recent remarks could be among the topics of the two presidents’ discussion next week.
Obama to School Duterte?
“We absolutely expect that the president will raise concerns about some of the recent statements from the president of the Philippines,” Rhodes said, adding there would be more pressing topics the two chief executives might likely discuss in the meeting.
Rhodes, however, said that the scheduled meeting between Obama and Duterte will not be held in Manila, but in Laos in time for the Pacific Rim summit.
It can be recalled that the tough-talking Duterte came under fire with controversial statements he issued after he won the presidency during the May 9 elections.
South China Sea Issues
Duterte was particularly criticized due to his statements backing his campaign to curb the country’s problem with illegal drugs. He was thus accused of human rights violations. These statements, however, made him the favorite target of both local and foreign human rights groups.
Other issues with global importance Obama would probably discuss with Duterte involves the matter with the South China Sea. China and the Philippines have landed on international headlines over the highly contested maritime dispute over the vast territory.
The UN-backed tribunal in The Hague has recently issued a ruling that virtually declared China’s nine-dash rule as inconsistent with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This has angered China, which in turn refused to recognize the ruling.