It’s been an eventful few days for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. He has declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao in response to rebels reportedly loyal to ISIS that have occupied a major city and have been entrenched in firefights since. Now, a leaked transcript of a phone call between President Donald Trump and Duterte paints a picture of concern over the developing issues in the Korean Peninsula.
The phone call starts warmly, with Trump congratulating Duterte by saying he has done an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” in the Phillipenes. Duterte has been using extrajudicial powers to kill thousands of suspected drug dealers while evoking Hitler and the Holocaust. The conversation then quickly shifts to Trump and Duterte discussing Kim Jong-un and what can be done to curb his nuclear lust.
Duterte: We are doing fine Mr. President but in the ASEAN summit every member state was really nervous about the situation in Korean peninsula but we would like to tell you that we support you and keep on the pressure because as long as those rockets and warheads are in the hands of Kim Jon Un [sic] we will never be as safe as there’s [no] telling what will happen next.
Trump: What’s your opinion of him, Rodrigo? Are we dealing with someone who is stable or not stable?
Duterte: He is not stable, Mr President, as he keeps on smiling when he explodes a rocket. He even has gone against China, which is the last country he should rebuke. But it seems from his face he is laughing always and theres as [sic] dangerous toy in his hands which could create so much agony and suffering for all mankind.
Trump: Well he has got the powder, but he doesn’t have the delivery system. All his rockets are crashing. That’s the good news. But eventually when he gets that delivery system… What do you [think] about China? Does China have power over him?
Duterte: Yes, at the end of the day, the last card, the ace has to be with China. Its only China. He is playing with his bombs his toys and from the looks of it, his mind is not working well and he might just go crazy one moment.
The phone call continues as Trump and Duterte discuss the U.S.’s strategic nuclear subs in the Korean Peninsula and how the onus is on China to make a “last-ditch effort “to tell him to lay off” and that since they are within range of his rockets, “they are all very scared.” Trump responds by reassuring Duterte that the U.S. has twenty times the firepower of North Korea and “you will be in good shape.”
According to The Washington Post, a senior Trump official confirmed the transcript is accurate but would not speak on the record about “a leaked document from a foreign government.”
You can read the rest of the call transcript at The Intercept.
(Via The Washington Post)