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Duterte apologizes to Kuwait for ‘harsh’ language

Sofia Tomacruz
'I'm sorry for the language that I was using but I'm very satisfied by the way you responded to the problems of my country,' President Rodrigo Duterte tells Kuwait

SOUTH KOREA TRIP. President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a departure statement at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport before leaving for South Korea on June 3, 2018. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to Kuwait on Sunday, June 3, for his “harsh” language during the Philippines’ diplomatic row with the Gulf state over controversial rescue operations for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“For the first time, I would say that I was harsh in my language, maybe because that was a result of an emotional outburst, but I’d like to apologize now. I’m sorry for the language that I was using but I’m very satisfied by the way how you responded to the problems of my country,” Duterte said in his meeting with the Filipino community in South Korea. 

Duterte is making a 3-day official visit to South Korea, home to around 66,000 Filipinos, where he got 84% of votes in the 2016 elections.

Duterte’s apology comes more than a month after Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on April 24 apologized to Kuwait, and explained that the rescues were done “in the spirit of emergency action to protect Filipinos.”

At the height of the diplomatic crisis, Kuwait expelled Philippine Ambassador Renato Villa and declared him persona non grata due to “undiplomatic acts by Philippine embassy staff.”

Kuwait accused the Philippines of violating its sovereignty by conducting rescue operations without coordinating with the Kuwaiti police. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.