Duterte’s insults towards Obama overshadow ASEAN meeting

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Duterte_ObamaThe Philippines scrambled to defuse a row with the US on September 6 after the former country’s President Rodrigo Duterte cursed US leader Barack Obama by using a Filipino phrase “putang ina,” which can mean “son of a bitch” or “son of a whore,” at a televised news conference.

The statement came after Duterte has bristled repeatedly at criticism over his “war on drugs”, which has killed about 2,400 people since he took office two months ago, and on September 5 said it would be “rude” for Obama to raise the question of human rights when they meet.

Although Duterte promptly voiced regret for the insult, Washington called off a bilateral meeting that was planned for the day at the ASEAN summit in Vientiane.

“President Obama will not be holding a bilateral meeting with President Duterte of the Philippines this afternoon,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in Washington in s short, but resolute statement.

“Clearly, he’s a colourful guy,” Obama responded, adding that “what I’ve instructed my team to do is talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out if this is in fact a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations.”

The incident overshadowed the opening of the ASEAN summit in Laos and also soured Obama’s last trip as president across a region he has tried to make a focus of US foreign policy, a strategy widely seen as a response to China’s economic and military muscle-flexing.

Political observers in- and outside the Philippines remarked that Duterte should probably better refrain from vulgar or otherwise foul-mouthed remarks in the future and from pouring scorn on critics, larded with curses, even though that has already become his trademark, albeit not one most Filipinos are overly proud of.

In August, Duterte said he didn’t mind Secretary of State John Kerry but had “a feud with his gay ambassador – son of a bitch, I’m annoyed with that guy.” He applied the same moniker to an Australian missionary who was gang-raped and killed in the Philippines, and even to Pope Francis on his May visit to Manila for causing a traffic jam. He later apologised.

He also lambasted the United Nations after it criticised the surge in killings, and he turned down a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Laos summit.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Philippines scrambled to defuse a row with the US on September 6 after the former country’s President Rodrigo Duterte cursed US leader Barack Obama by using a Filipino phrase “putang ina,” which can mean “son of a bitch” or “son of a whore,” at a televised news conference.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Duterte_ObamaThe Philippines scrambled to defuse a row with the US on September 6 after the former country’s President Rodrigo Duterte cursed US leader Barack Obama by using a Filipino phrase “putang ina,” which can mean “son of a bitch” or “son of a whore,” at a televised news conference.

The statement came after Duterte has bristled repeatedly at criticism over his “war on drugs”, which has killed about 2,400 people since he took office two months ago, and on September 5 said it would be “rude” for Obama to raise the question of human rights when they meet.

Although Duterte promptly voiced regret for the insult, Washington called off a bilateral meeting that was planned for the day at the ASEAN summit in Vientiane.

“President Obama will not be holding a bilateral meeting with President Duterte of the Philippines this afternoon,” National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in Washington in s short, but resolute statement.

“Clearly, he’s a colourful guy,” Obama responded, adding that “what I’ve instructed my team to do is talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out if this is in fact a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations.”

The incident overshadowed the opening of the ASEAN summit in Laos and also soured Obama’s last trip as president across a region he has tried to make a focus of US foreign policy, a strategy widely seen as a response to China’s economic and military muscle-flexing.

Political observers in- and outside the Philippines remarked that Duterte should probably better refrain from vulgar or otherwise foul-mouthed remarks in the future and from pouring scorn on critics, larded with curses, even though that has already become his trademark, albeit not one most Filipinos are overly proud of.

In August, Duterte said he didn’t mind Secretary of State John Kerry but had “a feud with his gay ambassador – son of a bitch, I’m annoyed with that guy.” He applied the same moniker to an Australian missionary who was gang-raped and killed in the Philippines, and even to Pope Francis on his May visit to Manila for causing a traffic jam. He later apologised.

He also lambasted the United Nations after it criticised the surge in killings, and he turned down a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Laos summit.

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