US President Barack Obama back down from Duterte showdown at ASEAN summit

September 6, 2016 6:00 am

(left) and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

President Barack Obama has cancelled a planned meeting with his Filipino counterpart Rodrigo Duterte after the latter insulted him with vulgar and undiplomatic language.  
The two leaders were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the 28th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit on Tuesdayafternoon in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
White House officials previously said Obama would confront Duterte about his country’s handling of drug dealers, including alleged extrajudicial killings.
Hours later, a US spokesman announced the cancellation of the meeting after Duterte lashed out at Obama for wading into his campaign against drugs.
“President Obama will not be holding a bilateral meeting with President Duterte of the Philippines this afternoon,” US National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in Washington, DC.
Price said the US president, who is in Laos for meetings with South Asian leaders, instead will meet with South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference following the conclusion of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, on September 5, 2016. (AFP photo)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane on September 5, 2016 for the 28th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit to be held September 6-8. (AFP photo)

Hours earlier, the outspoken Filipino leader harshly criticized the US president and said, “I am no American puppet. I am the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people.”
“You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a b***, I will curse you in that forum,” Duterte told reporters when asked about his message for Obama whose country is a former colonial ruler of the Philippines.
Duterte said that he would not be lectured by the US leader on human rights, and blamed Washington for causing unrest in the southern Philippines.
Obama learned about the insult while emerging from the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China.
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