Obama refuses to meet Philippines President
- Steady deterioration in ties
Vientiane, Laos: US President Barack Obama was apparently upset with the foulmouthed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte when the former chose to cancel a scheduled meeting with the latter on Tuesday. They were scheduled to meet in the Lao capital of Vientiane at a gathering organized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It is an annual event for fostering harmony. Regional problems do crop up leading to shouting matches between the leaders.
There has been a steady deterioration in the relations between the US and Philippines, longtime allies. This can be attributed to Duterte’s loose tongue. He has been speaking in negative tone ever since he became president on June 30. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in Washington, “President Obama will not be holding a bilateral meeting with President Duterte of the Philippines this afternoon.”
Duterte launched a verbal attack on President Obama on Monday saying that he was not prepared to lake lectures from the US any more. He was trying to forestall any advice from the US president regarding the internal strife in Philippines that has so far claimed more than 2,400 lives. “You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a w****, I will curse you in that forum”, Duterte threatened. He also questioned the US record in police killings and violation of human rights. The deterioration in relations between US and the Philippines, a key country in the South China Sea region where China is trying to establish its stranglehold and the US trying to resist the same. Besides Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have staked their claims to the strategically critical waters. In spite of the claims, China has been expanding with single minded focus by building artificial islands in very important locations.