DFA: Obama, Duterte had chat before ASEAN gala dinner

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 08 2016 12:45 AM | Updated as of Sep 08 2016 03:02 AM

U.S. President Barack Obama poses during a family photo during the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos September 7, 2016. Jorge Silva, Reuters

(UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte and U.S. President Barack Obama had a short talk Wednesday night before the ASEAN gala dinner in Laos, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

According to DFA spokesperson Charles Jose, the two chief executives had a brief chat while they were in a holding room prior to the summit's gala dinner.

"They met at the holding room and they were the last people to leave the holding room. I can't say how long they met," Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, travelling with Duterte, told reporters shortly afterwards.

"I'm very happy that it happened."

Yasay sought to characterize Wednesday's meeting as proof that the Philippine-U.S. alliance is strong.

"It all springs from the fact that the relationship between the Philippines and the United States is firm, very strong," Yasay said.

The White House had no immediate comment and Philippine officials did not elaborate on what was said.

Duterte and Obama were supposed to hold a bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos. 

However, Obama cancelled the meeting, following Duterte's "colorful" response with regards to the issue of human rights in the Philippines.  

Duterte has since expressed regret over how his expletive-laced remarks led to the cancellation of his planned meeting with the U.S. president. 

Contrary to a Malacañang press release, Duterte was also seated far from Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during the ASEAN Gala Dinner. - with a report from Agence France-Presse