HANOI-The Philippines and Vietnam have agreed to establish a six-year action plan to boost their relations, including fighting transnational crime and trade on illegal drugs.
Yet another controversy has engulfed Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, who, at a Friday press conference, compared his efforts to rid his country of drugs to Adolf Hitler's efforts to rid Europe of Jews.
In a rambling speech on his arrival in Davao City after a visit to Vietnam, Duterte told reporters that he had been "portrayed to be a cousin of Hitler" by critics.
"There are three million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I'd be happy to slaughter them", he argued.
Last week, Duterte said he would welcome an investigation from both the European Union and the UN.
Duterte's war on drugs has been heavily criticized by the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, the Catholic Church and human rights groups.
"We reaffirm [ed] commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight, as well as unimpeded commerce in the region, particularly in the South China Sea", Mr. Duterte said.
Images by Fairfax Media photographer Kate Geraghty show dramatic and gruesome scenes of the streets of Manila, as three men were executed and their bodies left by a railway track early on Friday.
Germany's government slammed Duterte's comments as unacceptable, and called in the Philippine ambassador to the Foreign Ministry over the matter.
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Benjamin Cardin, another influential senator, also warned that relations between the USA and Philippines are at a crossroads as the bodies pile up across the south-east Asian nation. He repeated USA calls for Philippine authorities to investigate any credible reports of extra-judicial killings.
Their friendship dates back at least 15 years, with Duterte previously helping to organize one of Pacquiao's fights. "We should remember how Hitler came to power".
"Do not pretend to be the moral conscience of the world".
Because this is what you get when you elect unhinged people to your country's highest office.
Rodrigo Duterte is not one to mince his words. Duterte regularly attacks critics in obscenity-filled speeches, including one in which he threatened to leave the United Nations and another that prompted U.S. President Barack Obama to cancel a meeting with him.
The pair are close allies, with Pacquiao godfather to Duterte's grandson.
The US rotates ships, planes, equipment and forces through Philippine military bases.
"Drug abuse is a serious issue", he said.
It's not fair to blame Duterte for the killings, he said.