Contrast in style as Rodrigo Duterte meets Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi

Contrast in style as Duterte meets Myanmar's Suu Kyi

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Contrast in style as Duterte meets Myanmar's Suu Kyi

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

MYANMAR. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (left) talks with Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Monday, March 20, 2017. (AP)

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar -- Regional politics makes for strange bedfellows, and at first glance, it is hard to imagine more of an odd couple than tempestuous Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his cerebral de facto Myanmar counterpart, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, who met Monday in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw.

After his arrival in Myanmar on Sunday, Duterte rejected European criticism of his deadly war on drugs with his usual profanity, insisting that "more people will die."

"I said I will not stop," he declared. "I will continue until the last drug lord in the Philippines is killed and the pushers out of the streets."

Suu Kyi has just as little time for critics, but her crisp Oxford-accented speech is more like a dagger to her guest's blunderbuss. The Philippines' hard man thrives on press coverage, while Myanmar's leader barely conceals her contempt for the media. She is the ice to Duterte's fire.

The main purpose of Duterte's visit to Myanmar is to complete visits to nine fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, which the Philippines is helming this year.

While their meeting is said to have included the usual pro forma talk about trade and investment, it had a tangible result when Duterte promised $300,000 in humanitarian aid for Myanmar's Rakhine state, where communal conflict has displaced more than 100,000 people, mostly Muslims, from their homes. (AP)

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