Duterte tells Obama 'you can go to hell'
Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte told President Barack Obama "you can go to hell" in a speech Tuesday that was his strongest tirade so far against the US over its criticism of his deadly anti-drug campaign, adding that he may eventually decide to "break up with America".
He also lashed out anew at the European Union, saying the bloc, which has also criticised his brutal crackdown, "better choose purgatory, hell is filled up".
Since becoming president in June, Duterte has had an uneasy relationship with the US and with Obama and has declared intentions to bolster relations with China and Russia as he revamps Philippine foreign policy that has long leaned on Washington.
The brash-speaking leader also has been hypersensitive to criticism over his anti-drug crackdown, which has left more than an estimated 3,000 suspected drug dealers and pushers dead in just three months, alarming the United Nations, the EU, the US and human-rights watchdogs.
In a speech before a local convention attended by officials and business executives, Duterte outlined his disappointments with the US, which has asked his government to stop the widespread killings and has questioned whether human rights are being violated. He also described Washington as an unreliable ally, saying Filipino forces have not benefited from joint combat exercises with US troops.
"Instead of helping us, the first to criticise is this State Department, so you can go to hell, Mr Obama, you can go to hell," Duterte said. Then addressing the EU, he said: "Better choose purgatory, hell is filled up."
In a later speech at a synagogue in Makati city in the Manila metropolis, Duterte warned he may decide to "break up with America" in his most serious threat so far to push relations back with Washington.
"Eventually I might, in my time, I will break up with America," he said without elaborating. "I would rather go to Russia and to China."
In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the US had not received any official request from Duterte or any other Philippine official to alter any aspect of bilateral cooperation.