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'Alpha-Male Bromance' Solidified as Trump Vows Support for 'Bloodstained' Duterte

"The issue of human rights did not arise. It was not brought up," said spokesperson for Philippine president

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, US President Donald Trump, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull join hands for a family photo during the opening ceremony of the 31st Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on November 13, 2017. World leaders are in the Philippines' capital for two days of summits. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Though presented with several opportunities to do so, President Donald Trump reportedly did not raise any concerns about human rights abuses or the "bloodstained" drug war being carried out by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during a face-to-face meeting on Monday.

"The issue of human rights did not arise. It was not brought up," said Harry Roque, a Duterte's spokesperson, after the two leaders met privately for bilateral talks. "It was President Duterte who brought up with President Trump the drug menace in the Philippines, and the US president appeared sympathetic and did not have any official position on the matter but was merely nodding his head."

According to Roque, "[Trump] stressed that he can be counted upon as a friend of the Duterte administration."

Ahead of the talks, Phelim Kine, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division, told the New York Times he predicted the world would likely "see an alpha-male bromance between the two... A lot of the issues that underpin the U.S.-Philippine relations will go unaddressed, and one of those will be rule of law."

Kine later said this photograph of Trump twisting his face as he held hands with Duterte over the weekend should "live in infamy."

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