President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to accept the invitation of United States President Donald Trump to visit the White House, citing his hectic schedule.
“No, because I’m tied up. I cannot make any definite promise. I’m supposed to go to Russia, I’m also supposed to go to Israel,” Duterte said in an ambush interview at the Sasa Port in Davao City on Monday, May 2.
The President is scheduled to visit Russia this May upon the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prior to his Russian trip, he is set to return to China on May 14 to 16 to attend the “One Belt, One Road” forum.
It was the first time Duterte mentioned about a possible trip to Israel.
Trump invited Duterte to Washington when they talked over the phone last Saturday after the closing of the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila.
The two leaders talked about the PH-US alliance, including threats posed by North Korea.
In a statement released a day after their conversation, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Trump was looking forward to attend the Asean Summit in November.
“President Trump likewise mentioned that he looks forward to his visit to the Philippines in November for the East Asia Summit,” Abella said.
The US has received Duterte’s ire during the time of former President Barack Obama for criticizing his administration’s war on drugs. But Duterte turned soft on US after Trump won the presidency. He said has been supportive of his war on drugs.