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Duterte tells Obama he never cursed him

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"I do not care about him. Who is he?" Mr. Duterte said. "You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions and statements. Putang Ina, I will swear at you at that forum," he added, using the Tagalog phrase for "son of a bitch."

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday he told President Barack Obama during their encounter in Laos that he never cursed him.

On a visit to Indonesia, Mr. Duterte told the Filipino community there that he told Mr. Obama- “President Obama, I’m President Duterte. I never made that statement, check it out.”

Mr. Duterte blamed the media for distorting his words, saying he did utter “son of a bitch” but it was not directed at Mr. Obama.

Before travelling to Laos for regional summits, Mr. Duterte said on Monday that Mr. Obama should not question him about the rising death toll in his war on drugs, which has been criticised abroad and by Mr. Duterte’s opponents in the Philippines. More than 2,800 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed since Mr. Duterte took office.

Asked how he would explain the killings to Mr. Obama, he said in a long answer that the Philippines has long ceased to be a colony of the United States and he did not have a master except the Filipino people.

“I do not care about him. Who is he?” Mr. Duterte said. “You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions and statements. Putang Ina, I will swear at you at that forum,” he added, using the Tagalog phrase for “son of a bitch.”

Mr. Obama then cancelled a meeting with Mr. Duterte in Laos but the two met informally on Wednesday in a holding room before attending a gala dinner.

Mr. Duterte, who assumed the presidency in June, has had an uneasy relationship with the U.S., his country’s long-time treaty ally. He has said he is charting a foreign policy not dependent on the U.S., and has moved to reduce tensions with China over rival territorial claims.

The whole room was silent and he waited for Mr. Obama to respond but he remained quiet, Mr. Duterte said.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 6:31:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Duterte-tells-Obama-he-never-cursed-him/article14630787.ece

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