Duterte admits he skipped some ASEAN events to avoid ‘awkward’ situation with Obama

President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he deliberately skipped some events at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held in Vientiane, Laos in order to avoid an “awkward” situation with United States President Barack Obama. Earlier, Malacañang said that Duterte was not able to attend some of the events and let Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. stand in for him due to illness. However, the President insists that he did not fall sick. “I was there. I attended the meetings, actually. Do not believe those idiots out there.

But you know, Obama was there, and because we had an exchange of words, I was just trying to avoid an awkward situation.” Duterte had previously cursed on Obama, over criticisms made by the US government over the ongoing war on drugs being undertake by the Philippine government. Among the events Duterte skipped were the ASEAN-US Summit, the ASEAN-India Summit, and the ASEAN-United Nations Summit. Duterte said he did not show up in those events as a “matter of principle.” “I would not know if he would accept my gesture of a handshake, or me, deliberately getting out of the way to avoid him. And because I did not want to create a scene, an awkward situation, I just stayed on the sidelines. That’s the truth, I was avoiding an awkward situation, especially an international awkward behavior,” he added. Last November, Duterte also let Yasay take his place in the traditional Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) family photo of leaders during the APEC Summit in Lima, Peru.
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