Filipino President Duterte Holds Informal Meeting With President Obama At ASEAN Summit -- But Was It Productive?

Jon Mark

CBS News reported Wednesday that the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and U.S. President Obama met in Laos despite the former's profanity-laced attacks, which initially led to the cancellation of a meeting between the two that had been scheduled for Monday in the Philippines.

"They met at the holding room and they were the last persons to leave the holding room. I can't say how long they met. It all springs from the fact the relationship between the Philippines and the United States is firm, very strong. The basis for this relationship is historical and both leaders realize this. And I'm very happy it happened."

The Pew Research Center shows that since 2013, the confidence the Philippines have in President Obama has risen from 84 percent to 94 percent in 2015.

One report published in 2013 by Time Magazine refers to the Philippines as one of the nations who view the U.S. positively in contrast with others over the outside world's view of the United States' foreign affairs.

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CBS News also reported that Duterte had "backed off" of the comment on Tuesday, through a statement which was read by his spokesman.

In Laos he spoke with reporters about his comment.

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"I do not want to quarrel with the most powerful country on the planet. Washington has been so liberal about criticizing human rights, human rights and human rights. How about you? I have so many questions also about human rights to ask you. So... people who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others."

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It was for this reason that the White House decided to cancel their scheduled meeting with their non-NATO ally, which was verified during a press conference -- transcribed on the White House site -- on Tuesday with Deputy National Secretary Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes, in Laos.

"With respect to the bilateral meeting, I think it was our judgment that given the focus of attention on President Duterte's comments leading into the meetings here, we felt that that did not create a constructive environment for a bilateral meeting. All of the attention, frankly, was on those comments and, therefore, not on the very substantive agenda that we have with the Philippines. So, again, given that focus, we felt that it wasn't the right time to have a bilateral meeting between the two Presidents. And that's something that we discussed with officials from the government of the Philippines last night."

[Photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Images]

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