Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is expressing regret after his obscenity-laden rant against US President Barack Obama prompted the White House to cancel planned bilateral talks between the two leaders.
“We look forward to ironing out differences arising out of national priorities and perceptions,” the statement released on Tuesday read.
White House officials previously saidObama would confront Duterte about his country’s handling of drug dealers,including extrajudicial killings, which are government executions without the benefit of judicial proceedings.
“Who does he think he is? I am no American puppet. I am the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people,” Duterte said in a speech on Monday. “Son of a bitch, I will swear at you.”
Obama has worked hard to develop the Philippines’ partnership with the US and as a regional counterbalance to China. He’s visited the country twice in his second term, and announced on a stop there in November the return of a US military presence at a critical naval base on the South China Sea.
But Duterte’s derogatory comments and a spike in extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers put the relationship in stormier waters.
Obama and Duterte had been set to meet in Laos this week, where Obama is attending a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders. The statement from Duterte’s spokesman said the “meeting has been mutually agreed upon to be moved to a later date.”
Obama instead will meet today with President Park Geun–hye of South Korea