Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he will deal with Donald Trump "in the most righteous way" and listen to what he has to say when they meet to discuss North Korea and regional security during the US President's first major trip throughout Asia.
- Duterte hopes the US, Japan, and South Korea will sit down and talk to Kim Jong-un
- He will welcome Trump as an important leader and listen to what he has to say
- Duterte's tense relationship with Barack Obama has eased due to praise from Trump
Mr Trump is set to travel to Asia from Friday until November 14 amid rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. He will be in Manila on the last leg of his trip, which includes visits to Japan, South Korea, China, and Vietnam.
Tensions between the US and North Korea — who Mr Trump has threatened to destroy — have been building after a series of nuclear and missile tests by Pyongyang and bellicose verbal exchanges between Kim Jong-un and the US President.
Earlier this week, Japan warned the hermit state's nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities had grown to an "unprecedented, critical and imminent" level.
The CIA has said North Korea could be only months away from developing the ability to hit the US with nuclear weapons, a scenario Mr Trump has vowed to prevent.
Mr Duterte, speaking in Davao City overnight, said the situation in the Korean Peninsula would be the main agenda item in his talks with the US President.
"We are worried. If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong," Mr Duterte said.
"A nuclear war is totally unacceptable to everybody."
Mr Duterte said it would be good if the US, Japan and South Korea would sit down and talk to Kim Jong-un and "tell him that nobody's threatening him, that there would be no war, and that if you can just tone down or stand down, stop the threats, and that would be the same for America".
The Philippines President has previously described Mr Kim as a "fool" and a "chubby son of a bitch" for "playing with dangerous toys".
Mr Trump will reportedly meet with Mr Duterte, but will skip the larger meeting in Manila with heads of states and governments from China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Duterte to 'listen to what Trump has to say'
Mr Duterte is known for his often profanity-laden tirades against the United States, chiding Washington during the presidency of former leader Barack Obama for treating the Philippines "like a dog," despite the two nations' longstanding relationship.
The Philippines' leader announced his "separation" from the US during a visit to Beijing a year ago, declaring he had realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute through talks.
Mr Duterte was infuriated by expressions of concern by members of Mr Obama's administration about extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
But Mr Trump, in a phone call to Mr Duterte in May, praised the Philippine leader for doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem" despite human rights groups' condemnation of Mr Duterte's drug crackdown, in which thousands of people have been killed.
"It [talks] would be terrorism, cooperation between the two countries, the fight against drugs. I expect to be dealing with him around these topics," Mr Duterte added.
"I would deal with President Trump in the most righteous way, welcome him as an important leader.
"I would have to also listen to him, what he has to say."
Mr Trump's visit to China will reciprocate a trip to the US made in April by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The US leader has applied heavy pressure on China to rein in North Korea, and while his efforts have had limited success thus far, he went out of his way to thank Mr Xi for his efforts.
"I applaud China for breaking off all banking relationships with North Korea — something that people would have thought unthinkable even two months ago. I want to thank President Xi," Mr Trump said at a news conference.