Major Announcement on Trade Coming Wednesday, Trump Says

U.S. president praises Philippines’ Duterte despite hardline crackdown

\President Donald Trump holds a bilateral meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Manila on Monday. (Rolex dela Pena/Pool Photo via AP)

Updated at 7:54 a.m. | President Donald Trump plans to make a major announcement Wednesday on trade and North Korea following his 12-day swing through Asia.

“A lot of things are happening on trade. And I’ll be announcing pretty much what happened here, and also with other meetings, including China and South Korea and lots of other places,” Trump said during a meeting with his Australian and Japanese counterparts at a summit of Asian leaders in Manila, Philippines.

Trump told reporters he wants to let the American people know about developments from the trip from home turf, rather than do it before heading back to the United States.

“We’ve made some very big steps with respect to trade, far bigger than anything you know, in addition to about $300 billion in sales to various companies, including China — that was $250 billion and going up very substantially from that,” Trump said.

“But we’ve made a lot of big progress on trade,” he added. “We have deficits with almost everybody. Those deficits are going to be cut very quickly and very substantially.”

Of his trip more broadly and the myriad issues he discussed with Asian leaders, the president said: “A lot of elements were solved, or in the process of being solved.”

Following Monday's Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference events, the president returned to his hotel and fired off a few tweets. One promised "great deals" stemming from his trade talks during the Asia tour.

A second one declared that many of Trump's "promises are rapidly being fulfilled."

Before Trump departed, it was clear the most controversial part of his trip would be one-on-one meetings in the Philippines with that country’s hardline leader, President Rodrigo Duterte. Trump has praised his hardline tactics and human rights groups have urged the U.S. leader to urge him to ease up.

The Philippine leader has presided over a government crackdown of drug dealers and users, including extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses.

The White House earlier this year invited Duterte to the White House, a move that drew widespread criticism from human rights groups and congressional Democrats. Duterte declined the invitation.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said human rights came up briefly during the duo's private meeting.

“We’ve had a great relationship," Trump told reporters, standing beside Duterte. “This has been very successful. We’ve had many meetings today with many other leaders. The ASEAN conference has been handled beautifully by the president of the Philippines and your representatives. I’ve really enjoyed being here.”

Later, during remarks to kick off the summit, Trump referred to Duterte as “Rodrigo.”

“I would like to commend you on your success as ASEAN chair at this critical moment in time, and in the association’s history,” Trump said.

“I want to thank you for your incredible hospitality,” he continued. “And the show last night — the talent at that show, I assume mostly from the Philippines, was fantastic. ... We couldn’t tell the difference.”

At several points on Monday, Duterte had some pointed comments for reporters. He called them “spies” at one point, then pointedly told them to leave the room when they were allowed in for his and Trump’s brief remarks.

“I would like to request media to leave us alone,” he said, according to a pool report from a journalist in the room. “You may leave the room.”

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.