Stop Threatening North Korea, Duterte Urges the U.S.

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  • Duterte says he, Trump ‘move our mouths in the same cadence’
  • Philippine leader to discuss security, trade with Japan’s Abe

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The U.S. should stop threatening North Korea and instead assure leader Kim Jong-Un that there are no plans to oust him, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said ahead of his meeting with President Donald Trump next month.

In a televised speech before leaving for Tokyo, Duterte said the U.S., Japan, China and South Korea should sit down with the North Korean leader to tackle the Pyongyang regime’s weapons development and missile tests. North Korea will be high on the agenda when leaders of the four nations meet their Southeast Asian counterparts in Manila next month, he said.

“Tell him nobody’s threatening him, that there will be no war,” Duterte said, referring to the North Korean leader. “If you can just tone down or stand down, stop the threats, that will be the same for America, just to assure him that nobody is after you.”

The Philippine leader also said he will deal with Trump in the “most righteous way,” adding that he and the U.S. president “move our mouths in the same cadence.”

Duterte said he would discuss the regional threat posed by North Korea in his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday. Abe has strongly backed Trump’s line on Pyongyang, repeatedly saying that he favors pressure over dialog to resolve the issue.

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Abe and Duterte have made a show of building close ties, with Abe visiting the Philippine president’s home in Davao in January and avoiding any criticism of his controversial anti-drug campaign.

On his first visit to Japan in a year, Duterte will also seek assistance in rebuilding Marawi City, which was heavily damaged during fighting between government forces and militants affiliated with Islamic State. He also said they would discuss ways to boost trade between the two nations.

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— With assistance by Isabel Reynolds

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