MANILA, August 8, 2017 — President Rodrigo Duterte said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop “toned down” their concerns about human rights during their meeting in Malacañang on Monday.
The two top foreign officials were in the country to attend the meetings in relation to the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The United States and Australia are among the dialogue partners of the 10 member states of ASEAN.
At a press briefing following the back-to-back meetings, Duterte said his discussion with the diplomats focused mainly on terrorism.
He added that the issue on human rights was tackled but only in passing.
“Mostly they have considerably toned down in human rights,” he said.
The President refused to divulge other details about their meetings, saying most of the topics were confidential.
The President first met Bishop, who arrived at the Palace around 3 p.m. accompanied by Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely and other Australian officials.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was accompanied by US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim and other US officials.
Philippine officials present during the courtesy call were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go. (PND/PNA)