Duterte wary over US-China trade war, wants it resolved soon

TOKYO (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed deep concerns Friday about the escalating U.S.-China trade war and its impact on the global economy, including that of his country.

Duterte, who is visiting Japan for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, says a protracted dispute would shrink world trade and investment.

He told reporters that the trade war is creating uncertainty and tension, adding, “There must be a resolution soon.”

Duterte also urged more foreign investment in the Philippines, claiming he has eradicated corruption and that investments are safe. “In my term, (our money) is safe. … There is no corruption. I have killed all of them already,” he said jokingly.

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The brash populist leader has campaigned against illegal drugs and corruption, while being accused of massive human rights violations because of the deaths of thousands of mostly poor suspects in his anti-drug war. Duterte, midway through the single six-year term Philippine presidents are allowed, solidified his grip on power this month with midterm election victories by his allies.

Duterte and Abe met Friday and discussed trade, investment and growing Chinese activity in disputed regional seas.

At a joint news conference with Abe, Duterte said he was “pleased with the growing interest and confident the Philippines is a preferred trade and investment destination for Japanese businesses.”

Abe pledged Japan will continue to strongly support the Philippines’ sustainable economic development, including “quality infrastructure” projects in politically unstable Mindanao in the south.

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Associated Press journalist Richard Colombo contributed to this report.

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