President Donald Trump will travel to the Philippines on Thursday to take part in a summit with his Philippine counterpart to try to revive peace talks between the Philippine government and the Islamic State group.
The trip, expected to be the first of Trump’s presidency, will include a visit to the capital Manila where he will hold talks with President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office in May.
It is unclear if Trump will also meet with Philippine leaders at a special White House meeting scheduled for later in the week.
Trump has expressed admiration for Duterte, whom he called a “true friend” in a series of tweets.
“He’s doing a great job,” Trump said of Duterte during a meeting with business leaders at the White House on Monday.
“I think he’s doing very well.”
But he also said he has “serious disagreements” with Duterte on a range of issues, including drug policy.
The two leaders have clashed frequently over drug policy, including the controversial crackdown on drug lords in Davao City, where Duterte has been accused of using excessive force against protesters.
Trump’s recent criticisms of Duterte have not stopped Duterte from holding high-level meetings with foreign leaders.
In September, Trump invited the Philippine leader to the Whitehouse, where the president reportedly asked the president if he could visit the White house.
Trump, in his Twitter message, said he would also be visiting South Korea to discuss trade and security.
The Philippines’ foreign minister, Albert del Rosario, on Monday also said the WhiteHouse meeting with Duterte was “very positive” and would be a “very important moment.”
Del Rosario said the leaders “have a lot to talk about” and they will “take decisions together” on how to address the “grave threats that are being posed to the region.”