U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday he was considering whether or not to meet his Filipino counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, as planned, amid alarm over the latter’s campaign against illegal drugs in which thousands of people have died.
Earlier in the day, the plain-talking Duterte had told reporters he would swear at Obama if he tried to question him about extrajudicial killings, using a Filipino phrase for “son of a bitch” to describe the U.S. president.
Speaking at a G20 meeting in China, and before traveling to Laos for a summit where he was due to hold talks with Duterte, Obama said he had asked his team to find out if “constructive, productive conversations” were possible.
“Obviously the Filipino people are some of our closest friends and allies and the Philippines is a treaty ally of ours. But I always want to make sure that if I’m having a meeting that it’s actually productive and we’re getting something done,” he told reporters in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. – READ MORE