Obama cancels meeting with 'colourful' Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte

US President Barack Obama arrives in Vientiane, Laos. Photo / AP
US President Barack Obama arrives in Vientiane, Laos. Photo / AP

After being called an obscenity by the President of the Philippines, US President Barack Obama cancelled a meeting today with the leader, Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte had threatened to curse out the US commander in chief if Obama raised the issue of extrajudicial killings by Philippine authorities in a sweeping crackdown on drug trafficking. Speaking to reporters, Duterte, who took office in June, said the Philippines is a "sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony," according to AP.

He added that: "I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody. You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions. 'Putang ina' I will swear at you in that forum." That is the Tagalog phrase for "son of a bi*ch" or "son of a wh*re".

Asked to respond during a news conference after the Group of 20 Summit in China, Obama shrugged it off as another in a line of "colourful statements" from Duterte.

"Clearly, he's a colourful guy," Obama said. "What I've instructed my team to do is talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out is this in fact a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations."

Hours later, Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said that the meeting with Duterte at a regional summit in Laos had been cancelled and that Obama would instead meet South Korean President Park Geun Hye.

- Washington Post

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