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Obama cancels meeting after Philippines' president calls him 'son of a whore'

Rodrigo Duterte has since apologised, sort of.

Obama
Obama
Image: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP/Press Association Images

PRESIDENT OF THE Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has expressed regret that a tirade against Barack Obama, in which he called the US leader a “son of a whore”, came across as a personal attack.

The United States and the Philippines, longtime allies, have seen relations plunge under a barrage of insults from Duterte since he came to office on 30 June.

The latest Duterte outburst happened yesterday, before a planned meeting between the leaders at a regional summit in Laos.

Obama responded to the outburst by cancelling today’s talks, which prompted Duterte to offer a qualified expression of regret.

“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,” a statement released by Duterte said.

The 71-year-old former prosecutor was referring to his remarks yesterday, when he warned he would not be lectured by Obama over concerns about a brutal war on drug crime that has claimed more than 2,400 lives in the Philippines.

“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 reporters when asked about his message for Obama.

Duterte, who has quickly earned a global reputation for his jibes, then used typically colourful language to describe their planned meeting if rights issues came up.

phil Duterte Source: Bullit Marquez/AP/Press Association Images

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

Duterte today said both sides would hold face-to-face talks “at a later date”.

“Our primary intention is to chart an independent foreign policy while promoting closer ties with all nations especially the US with which we have a longstanding partnership,” Duterte’s statement said.

‘A deep regard’ 

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs added that Duterte had “a deep regard and affinity for President Obama and for the enduring partnership between our nations”.

Duterte has angrily rejected criticism from the Catholic Church, human rights groups, legislators and the United Nations over his drug purge.

During yesterday’s press conference he said the bloodbath would continue.

More people will be killed, plenty will be killed until the last pusher is out of the streets. Until the [last] drug manufacturer is killed, we will continue and I will continue.

He also added that he would not take orders from the United States, a former colonial ruler of the Philippines, and did not care about how he was perceived.

“I don’t give a shit about anybody observing my behaviour,” he said.

© AFP 2016

Read: President of Philippines calls Obama a ‘son of a whore’

Read: I really meant it when I said Obama was the founder of Isis, Trump insists

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