President Barack Obama is meeting in China with national leaders as part of the G-20 summit conference. He shook hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, among other leaders. However, the White House has announced that a previously arranged meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte of The Philippines has been cancelled.
 
The announcement today followed remarks Duterte made as to the possibility of speaking to Obama about the ongong drug wars in The Philippines. Duterte was elected this year on a law-and-order platform. He promised that drug dealers would be killed by police. The Filipino leader apparently made good on his promise: over 2,000 alleged drug dealers and other criminals have been summarily shot to death by police and security forces. Human rights advocates have been urging Obama to discuss human rights violations committed by the government in the Filipino archipelago.
 
Duterte said of Obama, “You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum.” In response, Obama said of Duterte, “Clearly, he’s a colorful guy.” 
 
Obama said in a press conference today, “I have seen some of those colorful statements in the past. Clearly he’s a colorful guy,” Obama said. “Obviously the Filipino people are some of our closest friends and allies, the Philippines is a treaty ally of ours, but I always want to make sure if I’m having a meeting that it’s actually productive and we’re getting something done.”
 
Duterte is known for having a vulgar style of speaking and an uncompromising approach to politics and narcotrafficking. 
 
The United States and The Philippines have had an increasingly close strategic relationship because of China’s increasingly aggressive posture in the South China Sea. In addition, Muslim terrorists continue to cause havoc in the northern and western mainland and outer islands of The Philippines. 


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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