Kim told foreign correspondents in a forum that Washington respected Duterte’s win victory the 2016 elections and stressed the ties between the Philippines and the United States remained very strong.
“There is absolutely no effort by the CIA to undermine the Philippines’ leadership,” Kim said.
“President Duterte won a very impressive election. We respect his election and we are in fact working very well together with his administration.”
Kim also said US President Donald Trump’s decision to skip a major Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Manila in November was “purely for a scheduling reason.”
The Asean summit and other related meetings will be held in Manila on Nov. 12 to 14. It will be capped by the Asean-led East Asia Summit, a regional forum for strategic dialogue and cooperation on the key challenges facing the East Asian region, where its dialogue partners the US, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, India and New Zealand are members.
“For very important reasons he needs to get back to Washington on the 14th and that’s why he will not be able to participate in the East Asia Summit,” Kim said as he downplayed the criticisms that Trump’s absence in the EAS was due to his lack of interest in Southeast Asia compared to his predecessor Barack Obama.
Duterte last week claimed that the CIA wanted him out of the government but did not go much into detail. Prior to the alleged ouster plot, Duterte said, he has also heard that the CIA was out to kill him.
Kim reiterated Washington’s commitment to the Philippines with continued military and humanitarian assistance.
He said Trump will also discuss “all important issues” with Duterte when he visits Manila next month.
Some of the issues include concerns over North Korea, maritime security, recent developments in Mindanao, economic ties and strengthening of cultural and people-to-people ties, Kim said.
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