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Philippines President regrets calling President Barack Obama "son of a bitch"

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Speaking at a G20 meeting in China, and before traveling to Laos for a summit where he was due to hold talks with Duterte, Obama said he had asked his team to find out if "constructive, productive conversations" were possible.

Rather than being the architect of a lasting trade agreement covering 40 percent of the world's economy, the legacy of Obama's pivot to Asia may be a warmer reception and more open relationship with Southeast Asian nations such as Laos that in recent decades have been more likely to cozy up with China than the U.S. They also touched on the topic of the West Philippine Sea, including the freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea and the need for a peaceful settlement of disputes.

He sought to address worries that United States' new focus on Asia will leave smaller nations as pawns in a chess match between the USA and China.

Duterte has been under intense global scrutiny over the more than 2,000 suspected drug dealers and users killed since he took office in May.

Obama's aides announced that his planned meeting with Duterte on Tuesday afternoon had been called off following a fresh tirade by the Filipino leader the previous day.

The canceled meeting follows Duterte's verbal attack on the U.S. government after it raised concerns about the approach to drug policing and extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

In an interview with al Jazeera last month, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella admitted the job of constantly defending Duterte is a tough one, but also said some of the president's most offensive remarks sound so aggressive because of translation difficulties.

President Barack Obama looked to reassure Asian nations that the US commitment to the region would endure as concerns grow over China's increasingly visible presence and the ability of Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"During the visit, I will also have the opportunity to interact with the leaders of participating countries to discuss bilateral issues of mutual concern", he said.

"All of the attention frankly was on those comments, and therefore not on the very substantive agenda that we have with the Philippines".

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Both leaders also reaffirmed the long and close ties between Singapore and the Philippines and looked forward to the celebrations of the golden jubilee of diplomatic relations in 2019, said Mr Lee's press secretary, Ms Chang Li Lin. He urged a full implementation of sanctions against North Korea, adding that the missile test demonstrated the threat that Pyongyang posed.

Obama, who came to Laos from a Group of 20 meeting in Hangzhou, China, repeated past assurances that the pivot was not meant to check China's growing influence in the region.

That's Sen. Leila de Lima's take, in interviews conducted by the Inquirer, on President Duterte tangling with US President Barack Obama over the war on illegal drugs in the Philippines that has led to the cancellation of their bilateral meeting in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, on the sidelines of the annual Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit.

Obama announced that his administration would double spending to clear unexploded ordnance, committing $90 million over the next three years. Moving quickly to soothe the tensions with Washington, Duterte said that he remained committed to Manila's alliance with the United States.

But the behavior of new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte suggests potentially tricky times ahead.

Duterte has poured scorn previously on critics, usually larding it with curses.

He has accused a senator heading an inquiry into the killings of getting payoffs from drug lords.

China sparked widespread alarm when it converted seven reefs in the Spratly Islands into islands that the United States says could be transformed into military bases to reinforce Beijing's territorial claims and intimidate rival claimant countries.

China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia all lay claim to parts of the disputed region.

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