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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is surrounded by security after a press conference at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines on Monday, March 13, 2017. The Philippine president has ordered the military to assert his country's ownership of a vast offshore region off its northeastern coast where Chinese survey ships have been sighted last year and alarmed defense officials. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he's too 'tied up' to visit the White House


UPDATE 12:29 p.m. EST:

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has announced that he will probably be unable to accept President Trump's invitation, saying that he's "tied up."

I cannot make any definite promise. I am supposed to go to Russia; I am supposed to go to Israel,” he said, according to Yahoo News.

ORIGINAL STORY: President Trump is catching flak for inviting controversial Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte to visit him at the White House. 

Trump had a phone call with Duterte over the weekend to discuss North Korea. Trump said the two had a "very friendly conversation" Saturday about about regional security in Southeast Asia and the Philippines' drug war, according to CNN. 

The move has drawn criticism from humans rights groups. Duterte is accused of committing human rights abuses, including  order the killings of drug offenders. 

“Celebrating a man who boasts of killing his own citizens and inviting him to the White House, while remaining silent on his disgusting human rights record, sends a terrifying message,” said John Sifton, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch, Reuters reported. 

In an interview with ABC's "This Week," White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus defended Trump's invitation to Duterte, saying it was part of the administration's strategy to rein in North Korea. 

“There is nothing right now facing this country and facing the region that is a bigger threat than what’s happening in North Korea,” Preibus said. 

The White House has not said if and when Duterte will visit. 

Many took to twitter to criticize the move. 

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