President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday made it a point to step unto the deck of the visiting Australian warship, the HMAS Adelaide the, second of two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The Adelaide is in Manila as part of its ongoing military tour.
President Duterte said he appreciated the goodwill port of call even as Australia and the Philippines are respectively facing security concerns.
But, Duterte added, the more significant cause of concern is actually somewhere farther north, alluding to the recent spate of destabilizing moves by North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and his seemingly headlong rush toward arms supremacy through its nuclear program as well as rockets and missile technology development.
“Huh? Jong Un Un ?? I can’t even pronounce that stupid name,” Duterte quipped. “The small guy there in North Korea is playing with dangerous weapons, and I hope it would not deteriorate in something violent. But we can never know what’s in his criminal mind.”
He added that he wishes the nations of the world would unite against North Korea.
The subject of regional security is expected to be among the hot topics in the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Leaders Summit, this November, which will see the attendance of Presidents Donald Trump of the United States, and Vladimir Putin of Russia.
As a parting shot, President Duterte told the visiting Australians tongue-in-cheek: “If you decide to decommission this ship and come out with a new one, just park it here, and I will give you tickets back home to Australia,” eliciting guffaws all around.