US

Philippines says Trump called Duterte to affirm alliance

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while addressing the media following the conclusion of the 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit in Manila, Philippines, Saturday, April 29, 2017. Duterte suggested Saturday to his American counterpart to back out from an intensifying standoff with North Korea not in surrender but to avoid risking a nuclear "holocaust" that could affect Asia immensely. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while addressing the media following the conclusion of the 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit in Manila, Philippines, Saturday, April 29, 2017. Duterte suggested Saturday to his American counterpart to back out from an intensifying standoff with North Korea not in surrender but to avoid risking a nuclear "holocaust" that could affect Asia immensely. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  (The Associated Press)

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman says U.S. President Donald Trump has called the Philippine leader and expressed Washington's commitment to their treaty alliance and his interest in developing "a warm, working relationship" with Duterte.

Presidential spokesman Ernie Abella said Sunday that Trump mentioned he was looking forward to visiting the Philippines in November to attend an East Asia summit that Duterte will host with several world leaders. Abella said Trump also invited Duterte to visit the White House.

Abella's remarks reflect the friendlier attitude Duterte has taken toward Trump versus the antagonistic stance he had toward President Barack Obama, who he once asked to "go to hell" for criticizing the Philippine leader's bloody anti-drug crackdown.