Duterte Invitation 'Part of a Strategy to Isolate North Korea,' White House Says
In the face of international outrage, U.S. President Donald Trump's spokesman says the decision to invite authoritarian Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and other East Asian leaders to the White House is part of a strategy to isolate North Korea.
"It is an opportunity to work with countries in that region who can help play a role in diplomatically and economically isolating North Korea," said White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday. "And frankly the national interests of the United States, the safety of our people and the safety of people in the region are the number one priorities of the president."
In telephone conversations over the weekend, Trump invited the leaders of Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines to visit. But it was the invitation to the firebrand Duterte that touched off shock waves on Capitol Hill and infuriated the global human rights community.
State Department Issues Europe Travel Alert
The U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for what it called the "continued threat of terrorist attacks throughout Europe."
The alert, which expires September 1, cites recent incidents in France, Russia, Sweden and Britain that the State Department says show the ability of Islamic state, al-Qaida or others to carry out attacks.
"U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning," the alert says.
It further states that extremists focus on tourist areas, transportation hubs, markets and local government facilities.
The State Department issues travel alerts for short-term events it thinks travelers should know about. An alert is less severe than a travel warning, which the department issues to direct people to "consider very carefully" whether they should visit a country at all.