In Brief: Duterte, Obama 'speak briefly' with each other

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong looking at a print of Singapore scenes presented to him by his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang. Mr Lee received the 36cm by 49cm artwork by Chinese artist Zhang Minjie - featuring HDB flats, the Merlion, Marina Bay Sands
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong looking at a print of Singapore scenes presented to him by his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang. Mr Lee received the 36cm by 49cm artwork by Chinese artist Zhang Minjie - featuring HDB flats, the Merlion, Marina Bay Sands and the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles - at his bilateral meeting with Mr Li on Tuesday in Vientiane, where they were both attending Asean and Asean-related summits. Singapore in turn presented Mr Li with a painting by Chin Ruisi, a 16-year-old student from the School of the Arts. Her piece used the theme of friendship bands to depict the relationship between Asean and China.ST PHOTO: TAN HUI YEE

Duterte, Obama 'speak briefly' with each other

VIENTIANE • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Barack Obama "briefly spoke" at a holding room before a gala dinner last night, a Philippine official said, the Philippine online news site Rappler reported.

Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said he was quoting information from one of Mr Duterte's advisers.

"I think they have ironed out their differences," Mr Jose added.

The White House had cancelled a planned meeting between the two leaders after the Philippine leader used a Tagalog expletive on Mr Obama early this week.

Philippines says China building on shoal

VIENTIANE • The Philippines has released images that it said showed Chinese ships near the disputed Scarborough Shoal that were capable of dredging sand and other activities required to build an artificial island.

Beijing insisted it had not started building at the shoal - a move that could lead to a military outpost just 230km from the main Philippine island, where US forces are stationed. "I can tell you that there has not been any change to the Huangyan Island situation. China has also not taken new actions," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying told a news briefing in Beijing yesterday, using China's name for the shoal.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

Obama speaks out against wars

VIENTIANE • US President Barack Obama highlighted the need to understand and prevent wars and their heavy toll on innocent civilians.

"Every young boy and girl... deserves to be free from the fear of the shadow of a war that happened long ago," he said during a visit to a prosthetic and education centre here yesterday.

Laos bore the brunt of US bombing raids from 1964 to 1973, which saw some 2.5 million tonnes of ordnance dropped on Laos.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2016, with the headline 'In Brief'. Print Edition | Subscribe