• After the cancellation of US Pres. Barrack Obama and PH Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s planned meeting, State Department spokesman Mark Toner says ‘words matter’
  • The US official noted they want to see an atmosphere that is cordial and open to strong cooperation
  • The planned meeting was canceled after Duterte called Obama a “son of a bitch”

“Words matter, and we want to see an atmosphere that is cordial and open to strong cooperation.”

This was said by State Department spokesman Mark Toner after President Barrack Obama’s planned meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was canceled because the tone of the latter’s rhetoric raised questions about the chances for a productive talks, an article published by GMA News Online mentioned.

Earlier, Duterte called Obama a “son of a bitch” and said he would not be lectured over extrajudicial killings in the Philippines’ drug war but later on voiced regret for his language. The two leaders had been scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Laos.

Sharing the same view was the U.S. State Department and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who stressed the need for ties with the Philippines to be based on mutual respect, an article published by Reuters dated September 6 stated.

Despite U.S. dismay over Duterte’s remarks, current and former U.S. officials said they did not expect any serious damage to ties at a time of high tensions over China’s extensive territorial claims in Asia.

“When the president of the Philippines insulted our president, it was appropriate in a very low-key way to say: sorry, no meeting,” Clinton was quoted saying as she added that there are ties between the US and the Philippines thus a certain level of respect is expected on both sides.

Duterte’s remark came while explaining that he would not be lectured over extrajudicial killings in the war against drugs he has launched since taking over two months ago and which has killed about 2,400 people.