Duterte favors making deal with China over dispute
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, campaigning on Thursday in Palawan, said that if elected president, he would abide by China’s insistence on bilateral or country-to-country talks to resolve the South China Sea dispute rather through international arbitration, the route taken by the Aquino administration.
“I have a similar position as China’s. I don’t believe in solving the conflict through an international tribunal. China has said it will not abide by whatever that tribunal’s decision will be. That’s the same case with me, especially if the ruling will be against the Philippines,” Duterte said in reply to a question during a press conference here on Thursday night.
Vowing to reverse the policy pursued by the Aquino administration on the South China Sea conflict, Duterte said he would demand economic concessions from China in exchange for Manila’s backtracking on its claim.
“Let’s not talk about ownership and I will not make noise about it. If you want, let’s do a joint exploration. Just give me my part [of the agreement] whatever it is, [it may be] a train system from Manila to Mindanao. For six years, I will shut up,” he said.
Duterte was referring to the conflict that has seen China forcibly taking over Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines and fortifying reefs with manmade islands equipped for military uses. Redempto D. Anda, Inquirer Southern Luzon; with a report from Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao
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