A day after cursing US President Barack Obama, President Rodrigo Duterte made a 360-degree turn, affirming that he continues to value the alliance with the United States, noting that both our countries share common goals in their pursuit of the war against drugs, terrorists, crime and poverty.
Duterte got angry on Monday when he warned Obama against raising the issue of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and the government’s handling of drug dealers.
Early Tuesday, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the planned meeting between Obama and Duterte was cancelled.
In a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on the Philippines-US relations, the DFA said Duterte thanked Obama for the United States’ firm support for the Philippines during the G20, where President Obama emphasized the importance for China to abide by its obligations under international law and underscored the United States’ unwavering commitment to the security of its treaty allies.
“Both delegations, however, have agreed that in the light of the issues that still need to be worked on, the bilateral meeting between the two nations will be postponed to a later date,” the DFA said in its statement.
Duterte explained that the press reports that President Obama would “lecture” him on extrajudicial killings led to his strong comments, which in turn elicited concern.
“He regrets that his remarks to the press have caused much controversy,” the statement said.
While asserting the intent to chart an independent foreign policy and promote closer ties with all nations, he expressed his deep regard and affinity for President Obama and for the enduring partnership between our nations, the DFA said.
Duterte looks forward to ironing out differences arising out of national priorities and perceptions, and working in mutually responsible ways for both countries, it said.
“President Duterte stressed that in securing and preserving the rights and liberties of our people, it is imperative that the fight against illegal drugs, terrorist, crimes and poverty must be won in order to preserve the principle and values upon which our democratic way of life is anchored,” the statement added.