Trump invites Duterte to White House

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 30) — U.S. President Donald Trump invited President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House in a "very friendly" phone call that also discussed regional security and the Philippines' war on drugs, the White House said Sunday.

In a readout of Trump and Duterte's phone call after the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, the White House said Trump extended his invitation to Duterte to discuss the importance of U.S.-Philippines ties, which it said is "heading in a very positive direction."

No details on the tentative visit have been released, but Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella confirmed the invitation in a statement.

"The ambit of the conversation between the two leaders includes the expression of commitment of U.S. President Trump to the PH-U.S. alliance and his interest in developing a warm, working relationship with President Duterte," he said.

The White House likewise commented that Trump is looking forward to visiting the Philippines for the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN Summit in November.

The two leaders also tackled regional security in the ASEAN, including rising tensions between North Korea and the U.S., as the former continues its nuclear tests.

While neither Abella nor the White House expounded on the details of the phone conversation, Duterte earlier said he would ask Trump in their phone call not to go to war with North Korea to spare the region from suffering.

"I will say, Mr. President, just see to it there is no war because my region will suffer immensely - the first fallout would be us and Asia, very near, very dangerous," Duterte said at a press conference after the 30th ASEAN Summit.

READ: Duterte appeals to Trump: Keep restraint over North Korea

The White House readout added the two Presidents also discussed the Duterte administration's war on drugs, which has made much noise in the international community.

"They also discussed the fact that the Philippine government is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs, a scourge that affects many countries throughout the world," it said.

Duterte's war on drugs has drawn concern from several international human rights groups, which have protested the deaths allegedly caused by the administration's anti-drug campaign.

READ: Amnesty Int'l urges ASEAN leaders, PH gov't to act on 'bloodshed'

Abella said Trump was understanding of the challenges the Philippine President is facing, especially as Duterte continues efforts to rid the country of illegal drugs.