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Barack Obama cancels meeting with Rodrigo Duterte after Philippines president calls him a 'son of a w****'

Mr Obama described his Filipino counterpart as a 'colourful guy' and said he had asked his staff to assess whether a meeting between the two leaders would still be 'productive'

Tim Walker
US Correspondent
Tuesday 06 September 2016 09:13 BST
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Rodrigo Duterte calls Barack Obama 'son of a bitch'

Barack Obama has cancelled a scheduled meeting with Rodrigo Duterte, after the new Filipino president appeared to describe the US leader as a “son of a whore.”

Mr Duterte, known to some as “The Punisher” for his brutal approach to crime, delivered his profanity-laced broadside in a Monday address, after Mr Obama had criticised his controversial crackdown on the drugs trade in the Philippines.

The two presidents were due to meet in Laos later this week, where both are attending a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders. Mr Obama had said he would raise the question of Mr Duterte’s ruthless war on drugs, which has led to a spate of police and vigilante killings.

Mr Duterte, however, warned the US president not to challenge him on the issue. “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,” Mr Duterte said, adding: “Son of a whore, I will swear at you.”

More than 2,000 alleged drug dealers and addicts are thought to have been killed in the Philippines since Mr Duterte took office on 30 June, pledging to rid the country of its rampant drugs trade. At least 700 of those deaths reportedly occurred during police operations.

Obama responds to being called a 'son of a bitch' by Rodrigo Duterte

Mr Duterte has promised medals to any member of the public who shoots a drug dealer, and threatened to take the country out of the United Nations after facing criticism from the organisation over the human rights implications of his anti-crime campaign.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Mr Obama described his Filipino counterpart as a “colourful guy” and said he had asked his staff to assess whether a meeting between the two leaders would be “productive” in light of Mr Duterte’s comments.

Later, the White House announced that Mr Obama would instead meet with President Park Geun-hye of South Korea.

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