Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed regret Tuesday over his "son of a b****" remark while referring to President Barack Obama, in a rare display of contrition by a politician whose wide arc of profanities has unabashedly targeted world figures including the pope and the U.N. chief.
In a statement read out by his spokesman, Duterte said that while his "strong comments" in response to questions by a reporter "elicited concern and distress, we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president."
Duterte had made the intemperate remarks Monday before flying to Laos, where he is attending a regional summit. He had been scheduled to meet Obama separately in Laos, but Obama indicated he had second thoughts, and the White House announced that the meeting had been canceled.