Duterte Says Trump Wished Him Good Luck With Drug Crackdown

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says President-elect Donald Trump wished him luck with his controversial campaign against drugs, a campaign which international bodies say includes extrajudicial killings. According to Duterte, the conversation occurred late Friday, when he called Trump to offer congratulations. The talk, in which both sides invited the other to visit, was described by one of Duterte’s aides as a “very engaging, animated conversation,” the Associated Press reported. A video released by Duterte’s aide showed the strongman leader smiling while on the phone with Trump, talking about enhancing bilateral ties. In a part of the conversation that wasn’t aired, however, Duterte says Trump “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, commenting on his heavy-handed tactics. “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. It was unclear whether Trump explicitly said he approved of Duterte’s tactics, and Trump has yet to confirm Duterte's account of the conversation. More than 4,000 suspected drug dealers have turned up dead since Duterte launched a crackdown on the country’s drug trade, and the EU, UN and U.S. State Department have all raised concerns about Duterte's violent methods. The issue has frayed relations between Obama and Duterte, with a recent meeting between the two canceled after the latter launched into a curse-ridden tirade against the U.S. president.