"President Duterte explained that the press reports that President Obama would 'lecture' him on extrajudicial killings led to his strong comments, which in turn elicited concern," the Philippines said in a statement released at a summit in Laos. "He regrets that his remarks to the press have caused much controversy," it added.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama cancelled what would have been his first meeting with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, a White House spokesman said on Tuesday, after Duterte described Obama as a "son of a bitch".

Filipino President Duterte Publicly Hurls Abuse On Obama, US Cancels Meeting

Duterte, a plain-spoken populist known for his colourful remarks and his campaign against illegal drugs in which thousands of people have died, used the term in front of reporters on Monday, a day ahead of the planned meeting in Laos, where Southeast Asian leaders are meeting for annual summits.

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