Obama meets with leader who called him a 'son of a b----'
© Getty Images

President Obama reportedly met Wednesday with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after an initial meeting was scrapped when the southeast Asian leader called him a “son of a bitch.”

Obama and Dutere meet “briefly” on the sidelines of an international summit in Laos, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay told The Associated Press.


The White House has not confirmed whether the meeting took place, according to the AP. 

The discussion is an effort by the Philippines to bridge a diplomatic rift with a key ally caused by Duterte’s insult of Obama.

Tensions first arose last weekend over the Philippine government’s aggressive campaign against drug cartels. That campaign has reportedly left thousands of people dead. 

Obama and Duterte had been scheduled to hold their first official meeting during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.

But the White House scrapped the sit-down after Duterte called Obama a “son of a bitch” and vowed to swear at him if he brought up his government’s use of extrajudicial killings in its war on drugs.

More than 2,000 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed since Duterte took office in late June. Ahead of the meeting, Obama had said he would urge his Philippine counterpart to use due process in fighting drug rings.

A spokesman for Duterte later expressed remorse that his comments “came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president.”

Yasay said the two leaders met in a holding room just before a gala dinner at the summit. He did not provide details of the discussion, including exactly how long it lasted. 

Obama was seated six seats away from Duterte and were not seen speaking to one another during the dinner, according to a reporter in trhe room. 

The spat with Duterte stolen attention away form Obama’s final trip to Asia as president, in which he hoped to cement his administration’s effort to “rebalance” U.S. foreign policy toward the region. 

During the president’s stop in China for the Group of 20 summit, U.S. and Chinese officials clashed on the airport tarmac over staff and press access issues. 

-- This report was updated at 1:19 p.m.