Barack Obama cancels Rodrigo Duterte talks after insult

Barack Obama cancels meeting with new Philippine President Duterte

US President Barack Obama has cancelled what would have been his first meeting with Rodrigo Duterte, according to a White House spokesman, hours after the Philippine leader described his American counterpart in vulgar terms.

Duterte called Obama a “son of a whore”, saying that he would not be lectured by the US leader on human rights, according to AFP news agency.

Inside Story – Can Rodrigo Duterte win the war on illegal drugs?

Duterte’s tirade came as he bristled at warnings he would face questioning by the US president at their scheduled meeting over his war against drugs in the Philippines, which has claimed more than 2,400 lives in just over two months.

“You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum,” Duterte told a news conference shortly before flying to Laos to attend a summit on Monday.

“We will be wallowing in the mud like pigs if you do that to me,” he said.

However, a statement released by the Philippine president on Tuesday expressed regret for the tirade against his US counterpart.

“While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress, we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the US president,” the statement said.

Duterte was due to hold a bilateral meeting with Obama on Tuesday afternoon on the sidelines of a gathering of global leaders hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Vientiane, the capital of the Laos.

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