LONDON - US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said on Tuesday that the defense relationship with the Philippines was a "strong" and "longstanding" one, when asked about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's insult towards US President Barack Obama.
Carter, speaking to reporters as he was landing in London, also described the Philippines' new defense minister, Delfin Lorenzana, as someone who was "very knowledgeable about all the things that we do together".
In a curse-filled rant on Monday, Duterte said he would not allow himself to be lectured by Obama on his bloody war on drugs, which has left some 2,000 suspects killed according to police data.
Duterte later voiced regret for his language. The two had been scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Laos but Obama cancelled the meeting.
READ: Duterte 'regrets' comments vs. Obama, hopes to resolve spat