Obama can­cels Duterte show­down over slur at­tack

The Myanmar Times - - World -

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama can­celled a meet­ing with foul-mouthed Philip­pine leader Ro­drigo Duterte yes­ter­day at a re­gional sum­mit af­ter be­ing branded a “son of a whore” who would wal­low like a pig.

The pair were due to meet in the Lao cap­i­tal of Vientiane at a gath­er­ing or­gan­ised by the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN), an an­nual event meant to fos­ter har­mony but which of­ten high­lights re­gional rows.

This year’s edi­tion was launched with a spec­tac­u­lar fall­out be­tween the United States and the Philip­pines, long­time al­lies that have seen re­la­tions plunge un­der a bar­rage of in­sults from Mr Duterte since he came to of­fice on June 30.

Mr Obama’s aides an­nounced that his planned meet­ing with Mr Duterte had been called off fol­low­ing a fresh tirade by the Filipino leader the pre­vi­ous day.

Shortly be­fore fly­ing to Vientiane, Mr Duterte warned he would not be lec­tured by Mr Obama over a war on crime in the Philip­pines that has claimed more than 2400 lives in just over two months.

“You must be re­spect­ful. Do not just throw away ques­tions and state­ments. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that fo­rum,” Mr Duterte told re­porters when asked about his mes­sage for Mr Obama.

Mr Duterte, who has quickly earned a global rep­u­ta­tion for his acid tongue, then used typ­i­cally colour­ful lan­guage to de­scribe their planned meet­ing if rights is­sues came up.

“We will be wal­low­ing in the mud like pigs if you do that to me,” he said.

Mr Duterte had pre­vi­ously also branded the US am­bas­sador to Manila a “gay son of a whore”, and sought to taint the rep­u­ta­tion of Pope Fran­cis’ mother in sim­i­lar fash­ion.

Mr Duterte was elected to of­fice in a land­slide this year af­ter pledg­ing to kill 100,000 peo­ple in an un­prece­dented war on crime.

When faced with crit­i­cisms over an ap­par­ent spate of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings in his crime war by the United Na­tions, he re­sponded with what has be­come fa­mil­iar abuse.

“Maybe we’ll just have to de­cide to sep­a­rate from the United Na­tions. If you are that dis­re­spect­ful, son of a whore, then I will just leave you,” he said last month.

But faced with the Obama back­lash yes­ter­day, Mr Duterte of­fered a rare mo­ment of con­tri­tion, al­beit qual­i­fied.

“While the im­me­di­ate cause was my strong com­ments to cer­tain press ques­tions that elicited con­cern and

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