A leaked transcript of last month’s telephone conversation between President Trump and President Duterte has begun to circulate online.
The transcript, which was marked “confidential”, contains the words of the two leaders on April 29 after the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila.
The conversation seems to indicate a relaxed and friendly relationship between the leaders, who frequently praise one another’s actions.
In particular, Trump emphatically gives his backing to Duterte’s war on drugs, telling him he’s doing an “unbelievable job”.
In what has been seized upon as a possibly dangerous lapse of judgement, Trump tells Duterte that the USA has two nuclear submarines “the best in the world” in the vicinity of the Korean Peninsular.
It is unknown how the transcript found its way into the public domain.
POTUS/PRRD TELEPHONE CALL
10pm, April 29, 2017
PRRD: This is PRRD speaking. Yes, speaking.
US operator: Yes, sir, just one moment for President Trump please.
PRRD: Thank you.
POTUS: Mr President.
PRRD: President Trump, thank you for calling, and good evening, its night over here.
POTUS: Okay I hope its not too late? Its okay isn’t it? Is it too late?
PRRD: No its okay we are just having dinner with some of the members of ASEAN.
POTUS: Oh, ok, good, because I know you don’t sleep much, you’re just like me. You are not a person who goes to bed at all, I know that, right?
PRRD: Yes. You are right Mr President.
POTUS: I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem. Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.
PRRD: Thank you Mr President. This is the scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation.
POTUS: I understand that and fully understand that and I think we had a previous president who did not understand that, but I understand that and we have spoken about this before.
PRRD: Yes I know that. Thank you. Yes.
POTUS: So how is everyone doing, how is the Philippines doing?
PRRD:: We are doing fine Mr President but in the ASEAN summit every member state was really nervous about the situation in Korean peninsula, but we would like to tell you that we support you and keep on the pressure because as long as those rockets and warheads are in the hands of Kim Jong Un we will never be safe as there’s no telling what will happen next.
POTUS: Whats your opinion of him, Rodrigo? Are we dealing with someone who stable or not stable?
PRRD: He is not stable, Mr President, as he keeps on smiling when he explodes a rocket. He even has gone against China which is the last country he should rebuke. But it seems from his face — he is laughing always and there is a dangerous toy in his hands which could create so much agony and suffering for all mankind.
POTUS: Well, he has got power but he doesn’t have the delivery system. All his rockets are crashing. That’s the good news. But eventually when he gets that delivery system… What do you think about China? Does China have power over him?
PRRD: Yes at the end of the day, the last card, the ace has to be with China. It’s only China. He is playing with his bombs, his toys and from the looks of it, his mind is not working well and he might just go crazy one moment. China should make a last-ditch effort to tell him to lay off. China will play a very important role there.
POTUS: We have a lot of firepower over there. We have two submarines — the best in the world — we have two nuclear submarines — not that we want to use them at all. I’ve never seen anything like they are but we don’t have to use this but he could be crazy so we will see what happens.
PRRD: Every generation has a mad man — in our generation it’s Kim Jung Un — you are dealing with a very delicate problem.
POTUS: we can handle it.
PRRD: But you can keep the pressure on him.
POTUS: I hope China solves the problem. They really have the means because a great degree of their stuff comes through China. They are doing certain things, like not accepting coal. But if China doesn’t do it, we will do it.
PRRD: I will try to make a call to President Xi Jinping and I will try to tell him that if we will remain to be peaceful, China has the card. The other option is a nuclear blast which is not good for everybody.
POTUS: You can tell him I am counting on him. I have a very good relationship with him. I had him in Florida for two days and got to know him well. He is a good guy.
PRRD: I will do that I will call his Ambassador here and will make an appointment to call him. It will be good if you can keep the pressure on Kim but actually we are all worried as we are all within the striking distance of his rockets. We are all afraid.
POTUS: We can’t let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that. We have a lot of firepower, more than he has, times 20, but we don’t want to use it. You will be in good shape
PRRD: We believe it, we know it all along. I will try to make a call tomorrow to China.
POTUS: Please call China and tell them we are all counting on China. Tell the president — we became friends for two days — he was great. On another subject, I am coming to see you, I guess, sometime.
PRRD: November hopefully, we will be happy to see you.
POTUS: Thank you Mr President. You are a good man. Yes, certainly in November. Welcome and thank you and we will be happy to see you, Rodrigo. I look forward to seeing you, If you want to come to the Oval office, I will love to have you in the Oval office. Anytime you want to come. I will be in the Philippines in November, but anytime if you are in DC or anywhere, come see me in the Oval office. Work it out with your staff. Seriously, if you want to come over, just let us know. Just take care of yourself, and we will take care of North Korea. Keep up good work, you are doing an amazing job. Say hello to people of the Philippines for me.
PRRD: They know that you are calling. It is the last day of the ASEAN Summit and everyone was asking Sultan Bolkia just left but I will tell remaining guys here what you told me. We are all for peace, there’s no secret about that.
POTUS: Good, you take care of yourself , come see me before November, you are invited anytime.
PRRD: I will do that Mr President. Thank you for the concern. God bless you Mr President.
POTUS: Take care of yourself, Rodrigo. God bless you.