WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama has cancelled a planned meeting with Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte, the White House said on Monday, after his Asian ally launched a foul-mouthed tirade against him.
Duterte called Obama a "son of a whore" hours earlier, vowing he would not allow the American leader to lecture him on human rights.
"President Obama will not be holding a bilateral meeting with President Duterte of the Philippines this afternoon," National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said.
"Instead, he will meet with President Park (Geun-hye) of the Republic of Korea."
Obama had been set for a showdown with firebrand Duterte on Tuesday as a regional summit gets underway in Asia, and amid tensions over China’s growing territorial ambitions.
The pair were scheduled to meet in Laos at a gathering organised by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
However, shortly before flying to the capital Vientiane, Duterte launched a tirade at Obama asked about the latter’s plans to raise concerns over a war on crime in the Philippines that has seen more than 2,400 people killed. —AFP