Two days after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's profanity-laced outburst against Obama prompted the White House to cancel their scheduled meeting, the two met and spoke on Wednesday, 7 September, albeit briefly.
They spoke while waiting for the other Asian leaders to enter a gala dinner at the summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), in Vientiane, Laos, a White House official said. The official, however, did not specify what the two leaders discussed but only suggested it was not anything substantial.Obama had earlier cancelled a meeting with Duterte after the Philippines president called him a 'son of a b***h'
Philippines Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said: "They met at the holding room. They were the last persons to leave the holding room."
A White House statement said: "The exchange consisted of pleasantries between the two."
The leaders were supposed to meet one-on-one on Tuesday, 6 September, at the Vientiane summit. The meeting between the two was cancelled after Duterte called Obama a "son of a b***h" and had warned he would repeat it in person if Obama raised the issue of war on crime and extra judicial killings in Philippines. Obama called Duterte a "colourful guy" but cancelled the meeting later on.
The breakdown of relations between the United States and Philippines is a setback, as both countries have been long-time allies and are tied by a mutual defence treaty to help each other in times of war.
Yasay, however, insisted that the relationship between the countries is "firm and strong". She added, "It all springs from the fact that the relationship between the Philippines and the United States is firm, very strong."
Meanwhile, Duterte also chatted with Russia's Dmitri A Medvedev during a photo session and later at dinner, as he lifted his wine glass to raise a roast to Medvedev. Obama appeared to be in serious talks with Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.