US President Donald Trump has said he has a "great relationship" with his Philippine counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte.

A White House official said human rights got a brief mention when the two met on the sidelines of an Asian summit, although a spokesperson for the Philippine government said they were not discussed.

Their meeting was one of the most anticipated of the summit of east and southeast Asian leaders in Manila, with human rights groups pressing Mr Trump to take a tough line on Mr Duterte over his bloody war on drugs, in which thousands of people have been killed.

"We are your ally. We are an important ally," Mr Duterte told Mr Trump at the beginning of their talks, according to reporters allowed in to the meeting room.

Mr Trump replied: "We've had a great relationship. This has been very successful. And the ASEAN conference has been handled beautifully by the president in the Philippines."

When a reporter asked Mr Trump if he would raise human rights at the meeting, Mr Duterte said: "Whoa, whoa. This is not a press statement. This is the bilateral meeting."

A Philippines government spokesman later said human rights were not raised.

Harry Roque said that Mr Duterte explained his war on drugs policy, but human rights and extrajudicial killings were not discussed.

However, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the topic was mentioned briefly.

"The conversation focused on ISIS, illegal drugs, and trade. Human rights briefly came up in the context of the Philippines' fight against illegal drugs," she said.

Mr Duterte, who has spoken highly of Mr Trump, said last week he would tell the US president to "lay off" if he were to raise accusations of rights violations.

Mr Duterte has been called the "Trump of the East" for his brash style and provocative language.

Mr Trump was criticised in May for praising Mr Duterte during a phone call for the "great job" he was doing to counter illegal narcotics.

More than 3,900 people have been killed in a war on drugs that Mr Duterte declared when he took office last year.

His government says the police act in self-defence, but critics say executions are taking place with no accountability.

The United States and the Philippines, a former US colony, have been strategic allies since World War II.

Their relations have been strained by anti-US outbursts from Mr Duterte and his enthusiasm for better ties with Russia and China.

Philippine President croons at Trump's request

Mr Duterte crooned a hit Filipino love song at a dinner gala in Manila, at one point taking the microphone to sing in a duet with singer Pilita Corrales. 

One of the song's verses, translated from Filipino, begins: "You are the light in my world, a half of this heart of mine".

Mr Duterte said he sang the song "upon the orders of the Commander in Chief of the United States".

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