Duterte tells Obama 'son of a whore' remark was not meant to be personal

Philippine president says he wants ‘no quarrel’ with Barack Obama and spokesman says ‘strong comments’ arose from frustration at press questions

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has expressed regret for calling Barack Obama a “son of a whore” – a remark that led to the US leader cancelling their meeting during a regional summit in Laos.

In a statement read by his spokesman, Duterte said the remark was not intended as a personal insult. “While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress, we also regret that it came across as a personal attack on the US president,” Ernesto Abella quoted Duterte as saying.

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