Duterte's slur vs Obama grabs int'l headlines

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 06 2016 12:59 PM | Updated as of Sep 06 2016 04:14 PM

US President Barack Obama and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. File/Composite

MANILA - Philippines made headlines around the world as United States President Barack Obama cancelled a scheduled meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.

The meeting, supposed to be held at the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Laos, was cancelled after the Filipino firebrand called the outgoing American president a "son of a bitch."

READ: Obama cancels meeting with Duterte after insult

Among the news agencies that carried the rift between the two heads of state were The BBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera.

The public had divided opinion, between being proud of Duterte's patriotism and urging the Philippine president to employ more diplomacy.

READ: Duterte needs advice on diplomacy, ex-envoy to UN says

As of 11 a.m., the phrase "President of the Philippines" continues to be a trending topic on Facebook, while "Obama-Duterte" trended on Twitter.

Duterte has downplayed his tough talk, saying that he does "not quarrel with the most powerful president of any country in the planet."

READ: Duterte: I don't want to quarrel with Obama

Before departing for Laos, Duterte hit Obama, whom he called a "son of a w****" and told him not to question him about extrajudicial killings.

"I am a president of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony. I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody. You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions," Duterte said when asked by journalists before his departure to Laos when asked if Obama might raise the issue on extrajudicial killings in their meeting.

Obama learned about the insult as he emerged from the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, China. At a news conference, he said he had told his aides to speak with Philippine officials “to find out is this, in fact, a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations,” leaving little doubt that the meeting would proceed as planned.

“I always want to make sure that if I'm having a meeting, that it's actually productive and we're getting something done,” Obama told reporters.

Instead, Obama now plans to meet later on Tuesday with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, said Ned Price, spokesman for the White House National Security Council - a meeting where the response to North Korea's latest missile tests is expected to be on the agenda.

-- With Reuters