US President Barack Obama cancelled his meeting with his Fillipino counterpart Rodrigo Duterte day after Duterte lashed out at Obama with an obscene remark, a White House spokesman said today.
"President Obama will not be holding a bilateral meeting with President Duterte of the Philippines this afternoon," National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in Washington.
Duterte had described Obama as a 'son of a bitch' ahead of his meeting with the US President at a regional conference in the Laos capital of Vientiane, organised by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Anticipating that Obama would talk about Dutere's 'war on drugs' in Philippines, he warned that he would not be 'lectured' by Obama. "Who does he think he is? I am no American puppet," he scoffed at a media gathering on Monday.
"I am the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people," he was quoted as saying.
The White House has said Obama did not plan to pull any punches on his concerns about human rights abuses in the Philippines, its treaty ally, when meeting Duterte.
“I always want to make sure that if I'm having a meeting, that it's actually productive and we're getting something done,” Obama said reacting to the insult.
Obama learned about the remarks while he was the G20 summit in Hangzhou city of China.
“I always want to make sure that if I'm having a meeting, that it's actually productive and we're getting something done,” he said reacting to the insult.
He was set to give an address on the importance he has placed on the Southast Asia in his foreign and economic policy during his two terms in office, which will end on January 20, setting the stage for three days of meetings with regional leaders, Reuters said.
Meanwhile, according to AFP, tensions over China's growing territorial ambitions are also set to flare at the annual event meant to foster harmony but which often highlights regional rows.
The Philippines has been a key US ally in the South China Sea dispute with China. Washington blames Beijing for militarising a vital global trade route and jeopardising freedom of movement at sea and in the air. China, however, denies the claims.
After Duterte took over the President's office on June 30, US-Philippines relations have plunged under a barrage of insults . Duterte, known for his colourful remarks, had previously also branded the US ambassador to Manila a 'son of a whore'
Earlier, the Fillipino President had turned down a meeting with UN chief who raised concerns over Duterte's drug war in Phillipines where over 2,400 people have been killed under the dispute, according to police figures.
(WION with inputs from agencies)