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Philippine president expresses regret over calling Obama a ‘son of a whore’

Roslan Rahman, AFP | Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (pictured left) arrives to attend the 28th and 29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)in Vientiane on September 6, 2016

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".

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"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.

(AFP)

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