Since his election last year, Duterte has deemphasized Manila's issues with China in the South China Sea, as Beijing completely disregarded a Hague ruling last year that invalidated its expansive claims in the region, a case brought by the Philippines under former President Benigno Aquino III.
Meanwhile, the Philippines on Sunday issued a statement on behalf of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which took a soft stance towards China's island-building in the disputed waterway.
Duterte's spokesman said Trump expressed his "understanding and appreciation" for the challenges the country was facing in its war on drugs. Duterte is "pursuing a murderous war against the poor that has resulted in the brutally violent deaths of thousands of Filipinos", Kine claimed in his latest statement. During just the first six months of his tenure, Duterte reportedly killed more than 6,000 people as part of a crackdown on the country's drug trade.
It ignored an worldwide tribunal ruling a year ago which said China's claims to most of the sea were unlawful.
Leader of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has called on the U.S. to keep a cool head and not be rushed into action after North Korea's latest missile test. Duterte warned against North Korea's Kim Jong Un, who "wants to end the world".
It also did not carry wording from previous ASEAN statements calling for a "respect for legal and diplomatic processes" in resolving the dispute. "In an era where there can be much uncertainty, we must faithfully adhere to the supremacy of the law and rely on the supremacy of rules as responsible members of the worldwide community", Duterte said.
China has reclaimed land in the South China Sea and built facilities on it, including those military in nature, despite a 2002 agreement with ASEAN not to change the status quo in the area.
"The US apparently wants to consult allies and strategic partners in Asia to discuss an approach to the tensions over DPRK", Mr. Bolivar said, using the acronym of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Meanwhile, Russia, which has also slowly becoming a nation with close tie with Philippines, has also expressed interest in holding joint military exercise in Philippines.
"In sum, although some ASEAN ministers feel progress is being made on managing maritime disputes in the South China Sea, the reality is that ASEAN is gradually accepting that the South China Sea has become China's lake", Thayer said.
Vice President Mike Pence visited Indonesia in April and said Trump would travel to the region later in the year.
Last year, Duterte signaled a split with the US, traditionally an ally of the Philippines, and announced a military and economic "separation". "The U.S. needs to maintain a coalition of countries that continues to support a rules-based order and pushes back against bullying by China".