Duterte mum on 'confidential' meeting with US envoy: 'Nothing earthshaking'

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - President Rodrigo Duterte is mum about the details of his meeting with United States Ambassador Sung Kim days after he rejected the offer of Washington to provide F-16 fighter jets and attack helicopters needed by the Philippine military.

“I cannot discuss until I get his permission. It is a diplomatic têtê-à-têtê but nothing earthshaking, but more of confidentiality. I hate to break the rules,” Duterte told reporters in a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo In Quezon City.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the meeting was “private” and refused to tell more.

In a twitter post, Kim said he and Duterte discussed “shared goals, including defense priorities and economic partnership” of both countries but did not elaborate.

“Our alliance remains strong and ironclad,” the envoy said.

The relationship between the Philippines and US had been strained after Washington’s criticisms of Duterte’s brutal war against illegal drugs angered the Philippine leader.

But Manila’s alliance with Washington improved after US President Donald Trump, whom Duterte described as a “good friend,” won the elections in 2017.  

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