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Trump aiming to boost US relations with Philippines

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United States President Donald Trump is in Manila on the last leg of a 12-day, 5-nation tour.  He is attending the annual meeting - and fiftieth anniversary - of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. But Trump's visit is also viewed as a boost to US/Philippine relations. 

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte hosted a dinner for ASEAN leaders, with the US president at his side.  Duterte looking to warm up relations that grew cold when former president Barack Obama criticized his war on drugs for human rights violations.  Philippine consul general for Guam Marciano De Borja says they seem to get along, commenting, "You cannot avoid but make some comparison because they're both kind of very direct, very straight, and they don't really care what the media tell them."

Trump is not expected to raise the extra-judicial killings, at least publicly, that his predecessor condemned the Philippine president for. De Borja says their bilateral talks will focus instead on counter-terrorism and national security. And especially on revitalizing US trade and investment, saying, "The US is now the third largest. Before it used to be Number 1, Number 2, but because of our stronger relations with China and Japan, so these two Asian countries are now are major trading partners."

US Philippine relations are not without critics though, several thousand protesters took to the streets of the former US colony rallying against so-called "American imperialism" and the negative impacts of globalization on developing countries.

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