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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed regret on Tuesday for a tirade against Barack Obama in which he called the US leader a “son of a whore”.
“While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the US president,” a statement released by Duterte said.
The US and Philippine leaders were due to meet later Tuesday in the Lao capital of Vientiane at a gathering organised by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
But Obama pulled out of holding a bilateral meeting after Duterte launched a tirade against him ahead of the visit during a Monday press conference.
The acid-tongued former prosecutor on Monday warned he would not be lectured by Obama over concerns about a brutal war on crime that has claimed more than 2,400 lives in the Philippines.
“You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum,” Duterte told reporters when asked about his message for Obama.
Duterte’s statement on Tuesday in Laos struck a much more conciliatory tone, saying both sides would hold face-to-face talks “at a later date”.
“Our primary intention to chart an independent foreign policy while promoting closer ties with all nations especially the US with which we have a long standing partnership,” the statement said.
“We look forward to ironing out differences arising out of national priority perceptions and working in mutually responsible ways for both countries,” it added.