World Media

Smiles and snaps: Trump and Putin's delicate diplomatic dance

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he once stabbed a person to death when he was 16 years old

The comments came ahead of an Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila, which starts on Sunday.

"I believe that he feels that he and Russian Federation did not meddle in the election", Trump said of Putin at a news conference in Hanoi with Vietnam's president.

Rodrigo Duterte has said he stabbed a person to death as a teenager, in remarks that will stoke further controversy around the Philippine president days before he is due to host Asian leaders and his USA counterpart Donald Trump at a Manila summit.

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

'When I was a teenager, I would go in and out of jail. Instead, Trump said he and Duterte "had a great relationship", and avoided questions about whether he raised human rights concerns in a meeting with the Philippine leader. The two have exchanged letters, and when they spoke by phone in April, the White House said the call was "very friendly" and the president "invited President Duterte to the White House to discuss the importance of the United States-Philippines alliance, which is now heading in a very positive direction". "It was just over a look", Agence France Presse quoted him as saying.

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.

Critics, however, say Duterte has empowered police to murder suspected drug users and dealers with impunity.

"He (Trump) said something about: 'You know, you handle it very well, '" he told reporters upon his arrival from Vietnam. And nearly all of them also have the same problem. Responding to the criticism, Mr Duterte recently moved to take his controversial drugs campaign out of direct control of the police.

"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.

"(They) should deny the architect of this human rights calamity the global recognition he undeservedly craves".

Rodrigo Duterte has admitted he killed a man when he was just 16. Human rights groups believe the victim total is far higher, perhaps closer to 9,000. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said human rights came up "briefly" in the context of the Philippines' fight against illegal drugs.

Asean and China also highlighted the role of witnesses in identifying and prosecuting corruptors and said they would develop "an effective protection system for witnesses in corruption cases, where appropriate". "As now led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies". "In the broader region, countries outside of APEC are making broad the Indo-Pacific", Trump said, referring to a broad swathe of landmass and sea stretching from India all the way to Australia-a term his administration has been using increasingly.