BUT CORDIAL ENCOUNTER AT GALA DINNER
MANILA – U.S. President Barack Obama did not shake hands with President Rodrigo Duterte during the East Asia Summit in Laos, a source present at the event confirmed.
Delegates were shocked after Duterte ditched his prepared speech and instead made a presentation on alleged human rights violations during the Philippine-American War.
Duterte launched into a tirade about U.S. military killings in the Philippines when it was an American colony from 1898 to 1946, according to three diplomats that Agence France-Presse spoke with who were in the room.
The source said Obama went the rounds at the summit, shaking each leader's hands, except that of Duterte's.
READ: Duterte 'shocks' summit meeting with tirade vs US
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. tried to downplay the incident when he talked to reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, where Duterte is currently on a state visit.
Yasay said there was no time for Obama to shake Duterte's hands as the Philippine president had to leave the conference for his bilateral talks with Russia. When he got back to the meeting for the closing rites, Obama had already left.
All these after Obama and Duterte's cordial encounter at the ASEAN gala dinner.
Obama himself said he and the Philippine leader shook hands at the dinner, even if it was just a short interaction.
''I did shake hands with President Duterte last night. It was not a long interaction, and what I indicated to him is that my team should be meeting with his and determine how we can move forward on a whole range of issues,'' Obama said.
Obama: I didn't take Duterte's cursing personally
Meanwhile, Yasay confirmed Duterte had a prepared speech for the 18-leader strong East Asia Summit, but decided to make a presentation on alleged human rights violations perpetrated by the U.S., saying the prepared speech was submitted to the body and will form part of the records of the ASEAN Summit
The foreign affairs secretary admitted that Duterte did make a presentation, but refused to confirm or deny if he presented a picture of the alleged atrocities.
Obama just sat still and keenly listened to Duterte's presentation, according to Yasay.
Yasay said the president's intervention or presentation, soon as it forms part of the ASEAN Summit records, will be made public.
Yasay described Duterte’s debut on the international stage as "brilliant and superb," giving him an 8.5 rating on a scale of one to 10.
According to Yasay, the president made his positions on several issues quite clearly, particularly his war on drugs and criminality
Yasay also claimed that the leaders of Japan, Singapore and China were quite impressed with Duterte's performance.