Xi and Duterte Are Like 'Brothers,' Philippine Trade Secretary Says

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption President Duterte said last year that he shot dead three men while mayor of Davao

"I think it was in jest", Mr. Roque said. "A real person, a rumble, a stabbing", Duterte said, adding that the stabbing was prompted by someone looking at him the wrong way.

"At the age of 16, I already killed someone".

President Rodrigo Duterte skipped the gala dinner for heads of state attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam Sunday night.

On Monday Duterte is scheduled to formally meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Philippines to celebrate the 40th anniversary of of U.S. -Association of Southeast Asian Nations relations.

Across town, protesters from the militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) rallied outside Trump Towers, claiming the U.S. president had the intention of using the Philippines' territory to install more American military bases and that his heightened involvement in the country's affairs could drag them into war. Other officials said there'd been "conflicting signals" from the U.S. side.

Speaking to the local Filipino community in the Vietnamese city of Danang on Thursday, Duterte also threatened to slap a United Nations rights rapporteur if he met her, and used obscene language to hit back at critics of his deadly drugs crackdown.

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Mr Duterte has encouraged extrajudicial killings of those involved in the drugs trade, and said he would "be happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts in the country. "The US President's willingness to challenge the appalling record of President Duterte's "war on drugs" is a crucial test of his administration's commitment to upholding and defending human rights". "We can expect East Asian leaders to exercise a diplomatic blind eye to the killings of thousands of Filipinos over the past 16 months as part of Duterte's drug war".

In September, the budget for the human rights commission investigating the deaths was cut to 1,000 pesos - the equivalent of $20 (£15).

Duterte's aides have repeatedly told journalists not to believe everything the president says, cautioning that he often jokes or indulges in "hyperbole".

"Foreign leaders should recognise that the fist. symbolises a purposeful attack by Duterte on rule of law that has inflicted a human rights calamity on thousands of Filipinos", Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director, told AFP.

Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said it was hypocritical for the two to even discuss the topic given their tracklist of human rights violations.