Obama meets Filipino leader who loosed barb

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE -

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte met in­for­mally on Wed­nes­day in a hold­ing room be­fore at­tend­ing a gala din­ner at a re­gional sum­mit in Laos, White House and Philip­pine of­fi­cials said.

The meet­ing came af­ter Duterte on Mon­day called Obama a “son of a b----” and, while speak­ing to re­porters, warned Obama not to ques­tion killings that have oc­curred dur­ing his crack­down on sus­pected drug deal­ers and users. More than 2,000 peo­ple have been killed in the crack­down since he took of­fice on June 30.

That caused Obama to can­cel a for­mal meet­ing sched­uled for Tues­day. Obama, in turn, called Duterte “a col­or­ful guy”. On Tues­day, Duterte ex­pressed re­gret over the re­marks.

A Philip­pine De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs spokesman, Charles Joe, said it was a mu­tu­ally agreed meet­ing, but that he had no de­tails of what was dis­cussed.

Philip­pine For­eign Sec­re­tary Pe­fecto Yasay told The As­so­ci­ated Press that the lead­ers had met:

“They met at the hold­ing room and they were the last per­sons to leave the hold­ing room. I can’t say how long they met. It all springs from the fact the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Philip­pines and the United States is firm, very strong.

“The ba­sis for this re­la­tion­ship is his­tor­i­cal and both lead­ers re­al­ize this. And I’m very happy that it hap­pened”

Obama and Duterte en­tered the din­ner venue sep­a­rately, and were seated far apart and did not in­ter­act with each other dur­ing the din­ner that lasted an hour and 20 min­utes.

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