PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte engaged in a “cordial” phone conversation with US President Donald J. Trump on Sunday night to discuss cooperation against the coronavirus pandemic, his spokesman said on Monday.

The White House initiated the call that lasted 18 minutes, presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque told a news briefing.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go, Mr. Duterte’s close friend and former aide, shared photos of the President on the phone with Mr. Trump on Sunday evening.

Mr. Trump in January invited Mr. Duterte to the US for a special Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting, which he rejected.

The coronavirus disease 2019 has sickened abou 765,000 people in the US, killing more than 40,000.

Mr. Duterte on February 11 officially notified the US of his decision to end the visiting forces agreement (VFA) after the US visa of a political ally was canceled.

Washington has called the relationship “ironclad,” despite Duterte’s complaints that include allegations of US hypocrisy and ill treatment.

Mr. Duterte’s decision could complicate US military interests in the broader Asia-Pacific region as China’s ambitions rise.

The VFA is important to the overall US-Philippine alliance and sets out rules for US soldiers operating in the Philippines, a former US colony. – Gillian M. Cortez