President Donald Trump invited his polarizing Philippines counterpart to the White House during a phone call in which the two leaders discussed North Korea.
Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte had a "friendly discussion" Saturday that also addressed regional security in Southeast Asia and the Philippines' drug war, the White House said in a statement.
The statement did not provide details on when or if Duterte would visit Washington, but it said Trump is looking forward to his Philippines trip in November.
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The invitation spurred questions about whether the White House should extend a visit to a leader who has been much criticized for alleged human rights abuses, such as extrajudicial killings in Duterte's war on drugs.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, interviewed Sunday on ABC's "This Week," supported the invitation, saying that outreach to the Philippines and other Asian nations is key to dealing with Pyongyang and the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
Priebus agreed that human rights matter but he argued that the North Korean problem takes precedence.
"The issues facing us developing out of North Korea are so serious that we need cooperation at some level with as many partners in the area as we can get to make sure we have our ducks in a row," he said. "We have got to be on the same page."
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