President Rodrigo Duterte said he did not want to fight with US President Barrack Obama and blamed the US State Department for giving statements on the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
“I do not want to quarrel with him. He’s the most powerful president of any country on the planet,” Duterte told reporter upon his arrival at Vientiane, Laos on Monday evening, September 5.
This remark came after a reporter asked Duterte to comment on how Obama called him a “colorful guy.” Before taking his flight to Laos, Duterte told the Philippine media that he would curse Obama if he dares to discuss the issue of killings in the country.
Turning his attention to the Washington officials, Duterte said, “You could have just sent me a note verbale or whatever, then let me respond. You cannot just shoot a statement against the president of any country.”
Duterte and Obama were scheduled to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Leaders’ Summit on September 6 and reports said that Obama would discuss about the human rights concerns in the Philippines.
Upon hearing Duterte’s “colorful” remarks, Obama seemed to change his mind about meeting Duterte, saying that he consulted his aides if the face-to-face meeting would be a “constructive, productive” one.
Asked if he would still want to meet Obama, Duterte responded: “I don’t know, maybe. If I feel good.”
“You know, the Philippines is an independent country. It is not a vassal state of anybody. So you must be careful about your pronouncements. Washington has been so liberal about criticizing human rights and human rights. What about you?” he added.