Obama cancels meeting with Filipino President Duterte following insult

September 6, 2016 07:13

US President Barack Obama cancelled what would have been his first meeting with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday, after Duterte described Obama as a "son of a bitch".

Duterte, a plain-spoken populist known for his colourful remarks and his campaign against illegal drugs in which thousands of people have died, used the term in front of reporters on Monday, a day ahead of the planned meeting in Laos, where Southeast Asian leaders are meeting for annual summits.

Obama learned about the insult as he emerged from the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, China. At a news conference, he said he had told his aides to speak with Philippine officials "to find out is this, in fact, a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations," signalling clearly that the meeting would not proceed as planned.

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