VIENTIANE—President Rodrigo Duterte met with United States President Barack Obama late Wednesday and the two have supposedly “ironed out their differences,” the Department of Foreign Affairs announced here late Wednesday night.
“President Obama and President Duterte have already talked to each other. I think they ironed out their differences,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said, adding that there will be another opportunity for Duterte and Obama to talk during the US-Asean meeting on Thursday.
“I don’t know the details but that was what was discussed,” Jose said.
The two leaders met at a holding room inside the National Convention Center here before the gala dinner of the Association of South East Asian Nations summit, he said.
Jose announced the meeting hours after a Palace advisory claimed Duterte, whom they described as the summit “rock star,” would be seated between Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban Kimoon at the gala dinner but Duterte, however, skipped the UN-Asean meeting that included Ban and was represented by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay.
Ireneo Fidel Cornista, Philippine Liason Offi cer to Brunei and a member of the presidential protocol team, told journalists that Duterte’s absence at the UN-Asean summit was “not intentional” and was only caused by delays in the Asean-China meeting.
The delay in the Asean-China meeting, Cornista said, forced Duterte to skip the meeting because he was also scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Lao President Bounnhang Vorachith around 7 p.m.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose later confi rmed that Duterte and Obama had already met patched things out between the two world leaders who affirmed to continue the strong relationship between the Philippines and the United States.
Earlier, Palace spin doctors caused confusion after they claimed that Duterte would be seated between Obama and Ban, but Duterte found himself seated between Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.