Duterte regrets Obama comments came across as personal attack

Philippine presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella talks to the media after he read a statement from the Philippine government at the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos September 6, 2016. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

VIENTIANE (Reuters) - The Philippines said on Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte regretted comments he made about U.S. President Barack Obama came across as a personal attack and led to the cancellation of a meeting between the leaders of the allied nations.

“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.

Reporting by John Chalmers; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan