Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed regret over his "son of a bitch" remark while referring to President Barack Obama.

In a statement read out Tuesday by his spokesman, Duterte said his "strong comments" to certain questions by a reporter "elicited concern and distress, we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president."

Duterte made the remarks Monday before flying to Laos, where he will attend a regional summit. He had been scheduled to meet with Obama separately, but that meeting has now been postponed.