President Obama has indicated he may call off a scheduled meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines after the notoriously foul-mouthed Filipino threatened to “swear” at his American counterpart should he question a violent government crackdown on alleged criminals.
Duterte warned President Obama on Monday not to question him about extrajudicial killings, or “son of a bitch I will swear at you” when they meet in Laos during a regional summit on Tuesday.
Mr. Obama said during a news conference on the last day of the G-20 economic summit in China that he had heard about the comment and instructed his aides to determine whether now was the time to have “constructive, productive conversations” in a face-to-face meeting with Duterte.
Duterte said before flying to Laos that he is a leader of a sovereign country and is answerable only to the Filipino people. He was answering a reporter’s question about how he intends to explain the extrajudicial killings to Mr. Obama. More than 2,000 suspected drug pushers and users have been killed since Duterte launched a war on drugs after taking office on June 30.