Duterte “Apology” to Obama, But Not Really
Sept. 6, 2016 (EIRNS)–After President Obama yesterday cancelled his meeting with Philippine President Duterte planned for today, Duterte is reported in the world press to have issued an “apology” for his statements, in which he had challenged Obama’s arrogant intention to confront him on human rights and extra-judicial killings in the war on drugs, and had said he’d call him a “son of a bitch” (or “son of a whore” literally) in his local language if Obama tried to lecture him.
But it was hardly an apology. The statement released by his spokesperson read: “While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress, we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the US President,” the President said. “Our primary intention is to chart an independent foreign policy while promoting closer ties with all nations, especially the United States with which we have had a long standing partnership.”
When he arrived in Vientiane, in a meeting with Filipinos in the area, he took issue with a statement issued by Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor, that Obama would bring up the issue of extrajudicial killings against Mr. Duterte at the ASEAN Summits.
“That is not a proper subject of a summit like this. It would be improper and highly disrespectful,” Duterte said. “If at all, it should be done in the highest level of diplomacy. I am not a governor of a state or a city mayor of the United States.”
There is talk of the Obama/Duterte meeting being rescheduled for later during the three-day summit. If not, Duterte will still be quite busy, with eight other bilateral meetings with heads of state. He intends to call on the other Asian nations to cooperate in crushing drugs and terrorism throughout the region.
Since the Philippines is next in the rotation of nations to lead ASEAN for one year at a time, Duterte became the new chairman of ASEAN today, which will add to Obama’s indigestion.