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Duterte expresses regret over comments against Obama

President Rodrigo Duterte expressed regret on Tuesday for a tirade against Barack Obama.

"While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the US president," a statement released by Duterte said.

In his pre-departure briefing in Davao City before leaving for Laos to attend the ASEAN summits, Duterte said that nobody can lecture him about extrajudicial killings and human rights including Obama. His strong words pushed Obama to ultimately cancel their bilateral meeting which was supposed to be at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Upon his arrival in Laos, Duterte said that he would not want to start a fight with the "most powerful president on the planet."

Duterte said that the meeting will still push through.

"The meeting between the United States and the Philippines has been mutually agreed upon to be moved to a later date," he said.

Duterte clarified that he was just pushing for an independent foreign policy.

"Our primary intention is to chart an independent foreign policy while promoting closer ties with all nations, especially the US with which we have a had a long standing partnership," Duterte was quoted.

"We look forward to ironing out of difference arising out of national priorities and perceptions, and working in mutually responsible ways to both countries," he also stated. —with Agence France-Presse