TIME Philippines

Obama Reconsiders Meeting With Philippines President After Foulmouthed Outburst

Obama asked his staff to assess whether it would be productive for him to meet with Rodrigo Duterte in the light of the comments

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned President Barack Obama not to question him about extrajudicial killings, or “son of a bitch I will swear at you” when they meet in Laos during a regional summit.

Duterte said Monday before flying to Laos that he is a leader of a sovereign country and is answerable only to the Filipino people. He said Obama must be respectful and not just throw questions at him, or else, “son of a bitch, I will swear at you in that forum.”

Duterte was answering a reporter’s question about how he intends to explain the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines to Obama. More than 2,000 suspected drug pushers and users have been killed since Duterte launched a war on drugs after taking office on June 30.

Obama, meanwhile, says he has asked his staff to assess whether it would be productive for him to meet with Duterte. Obama was asked at a news conference in China on Monday whether he intends to meet Duterte, as planned, at a gathering in Laos this week of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Obama said he had heard about the comment and instructed his aides to determine whether it would still be productive to hold the face-to-face meeting.

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