Trump, Duterte Strike Up a Friendship

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The meeting was seen as a way to repair a historically close relationship

President Donald Trump and Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte found common ground during their first extended meeting.

The meeting on Monday was seen as a way for the U.S. and the Philippines to repair a historically close relationship that was shaken last year because of Mr. Duterte’s anti-Obama rhetoric.

The leaders discussed trade relations, the Philippines’ large outsourcing industry, U.S. assistance on counterterrorism and their personal relationship, said Harry Roque, a spokesman for Mr. Duterte. He said that they affirmed close ties in a frank 40-minute discussion and that Mr. Trump told Mr. Duterte that he has a friend in the U.S. president.

Before the meeting, Mr. Trump told reporters he and Mr. Duterte “had a great relationship.” Mr. Duterte called his country “an important ally” and shooed away reporters in a joke shared with Mr. Trump, saying, “You guys are the spies.” The night before, Mr. Duterte sang a Philippine love song at the behest of Mr. Trump, according to a video posted on Twitter by a Philippine government official.

The tone is a sharp shift from Mr. Duterte’s relationship with the U.S. under President Barack Obama, whom he once insulted.

During their meeting, Mr. Duterte…

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