VIENTIANE, Laos – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday, September 6, he regrets the “strong comments” he made that he said came across as a “personal attack” against US President Barack Obama.
“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 controversial remarks, made by the Philippine leader Monday, September 5, prior to his departure for the ASEAN Summit in Laos, led to the cancellation of a meeting between the two leaders. (READ: TRANSCRIPT: Duterte on Obama)
“The meeting between the United States and the Philippines has been mutually agreed upon to be moved to a later date,” Duterte said in a statement.
Duterte also blamed media reports for his “strong comments” against Obama over extrajudicial killings.
“President Duterte explained that the press reports that President Obama would lecture him on extrajudicial killings led to his strong comments, which in turn elicited concern. He regrets that his remarks to the press have caused much controversy,” said Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, reading from the statement.
“Our primary intention is to chart an independent foreign policy while promoting closer ties with all nations, especially the US with which we have had a long-standing partnership,” the statement said.
“We look forward to ironing out differences arising out of national priorities and perceptions, and working in mutually responsible ways for both countries,” it ended. – Paterno Esmaquel II with reports from Agence France-Presse/ Rappler.com