This article originally appeared on VICE News.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte denounced the United States in June, calling it a "lousy" country after a US congressman criticized the regime's bloody war on drugs. Yet Duterte made a direct appeal to Uncle Sam Tuesday, asking for help in stopping meth traffickers who've turned the island country into a narco-state.
In a speech in Manila, Duterte said the Philippines and the US must work together to stop criminal gangs using the Southeast Asian state as a trans-shipment point to smuggle methamphetamine into the United States.
"It behooves upon America to work closely with the Republic of the Philippines, especially on this serious matter," Duterte said.
The president said his country had become a "client state" of a Taiwan-based Bamboo triad and the Hong Kong-based 14-K gang, which have "flooded" his country with methamphetamine, known locally as shabu.
"The Philippines today is a client state of the Bamboo triad. They have taken over the operations," he added. "We have become a narco-state a long time ago."
Washington, the Philippines' oldest ally, says it supports efforts to defeat drug traffickers but has also called for Duterte to observe the rule of law as he pursues a bloody campaign against suspected drug pushers and users.
Since Duterte came to office in June 2016, more than 3,800 people have been killed in anti-drug operations carried out by security forces, the Philippine government says. Human rights groups say the number is much higher, and they accuse Philippine police of carrying out extrajudicial executions en masse with the implicit permission of Duterte.
Despite the widespread international criticism of the brutal anti-drug campaign, a leaked transcript of an April phone call between him and US President Donald Trump revealed the US leader had commended his Philippine counterpart for an "unbelievable job on the drug problem."