Obama expected to raise concerns over Philippines President Duterte’s remarks

United States President Barack Obama and President Rodrigo Duterte will hold bilateral talks at the sidelines of the ASEAN leaders’ summit in Laos. AP/Carolyn Kaster, Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — United States President Barack Obama is expected to raise concerns about some of the recent statements of President Rodrigo Duterte in their upcoming meeting in Laos.

The two leaders are set to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ summit at Vientiane, Laos on Sept. 6.

“We regularly meet with the leaders of our treaty allies where we have differences whether it relates to human rights practices or derogatory comments. We take the opportunity of those meetings to raise those issues directly,” White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said in a media briefing on Monday.

Rhodes made the statement after he was asked if the “inflammatory remarks” of Duterte about women, journalists and other issues would be discussed.

RELATED: US Embassy: Comments vs Goldberg unacceptable | US summons Philippine envoy over Duterte’s remarks

The White House official added that the recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea would also be one of the topics of the bilateral talks.

“I think the discussion will encompass both concerns about statements that have been made by the President of the Philippines and our commitment to supporting human rights and all efforts that are undertaken bilaterally and also, again, discussing the regional picture particularly focus on the maritime issues,” Rhodes said.

Duterte is expected to meet with other heads of state on the sidelines of the ASEAN leaders’ summit.

The president will first visit Brunei Darussalam on Sept. 4 before proceeding to attend the ASEAN summit from Sept. 5 to 7. He will then proceed to Indonesia for a two-day working visit.

RELATED: Duterte gets diplomatic passport ahead of ASEAN swing


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