" src='https://img.koreatimes.co.kr/upload/newsV2/images/450duterte.jpg/dims/resize/740/optimize' />
|Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte calls U.S. ambassador Philip Goldberg a "son of a bitch" during a speech to soldiers at Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City on Friday. / Courtesy of Twitter
By Hong Dam-young
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, notorious for using derogatory terms about his political opponents, has called. U.S. ambassador Philip Goldberg a "son of a bitch."
Duterte made the comment while giving a speech to soldiers at Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City on Friday.
After recalling that his recent meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was decent and smooth, he shifted his focus to Goldberg, whom he met to discuss the recent Hague ruling on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) on July 19, a week before Kerry paid a courtesy call to Malacanang.
"I had an argument with that ‘bakla' ― ‘gay' in Filipino ― ambassador," Duterte ranted, according to Yonhap news agency. "That son of a bitch really annoyed me."
In April, when Duterte was mayor of Davao, he joked about the Australian missionary who was raped and killed in a jail riot in 1989, saying, "She was beautiful. I should have raped her in the first place as a mayor."
The comment sparked a national uproar and drew international condemnation.
In the midst of the controversy, Goldberg reacted to Duterte's comment by saying the U.S. did not condone statements that degraded women or trivialized serious issues such as rape or murder.
Duterte struck back, saying Goldberg "should not interfere with our national election," and threatened to cut ties with the U.S.
The Philippine president has not yet buried the hatchet, continuing to claim that Goldberg's remark was an interference in the country's national election in May.
While former Filipino president Benigno Aquino III maintained close ties with the U.S. and Japan to confront China regarding the South China Sea disputes, Duterte seems to be bonding with China.
Such a relationship could pose a threat to the U.S., which has had friendly relations with the Philippines.