Duterte hopes Xi will keep word not to reclaim disputed islands
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he hoped that Chinese President Xi Jinping would honor his word not to reclaim the disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Duterte made statement after China’s launch of “magic island maker” ship raised concerns among claimants in the disputed sea.
“We will not reclaim sa Pagasa pati ’yung the nearby islands that we have occupied already. Small islands.” Sinabi niya, “We will not,” Duterte quoted Xi.
“And this is the assurance he gave to the Foreign Secretary na hindi niya gagalawin. He will not build something [in] Scarborough Shoal,” Duterte added.
The President said he was hoping that Xi would be true to his word.
“I just hope that he would honor it because it will change the entire geography of the world. And war starts. I don’t know what to be the next geographical division of Asia,” he said.
He said he would meet with Xi during the Asia Pacific Economic (Apec) Summit in Vietnam.
“I am tempted to tell you something of my theory but I’m going to Apec tomorrow. And we have the bilaterals. But I’m sure, I think some of the military men will go there. It would be at the time that I will be frank with China also. I know where [it’s] going, the direction and laro ito ng geopolitics. Sabi ko, it would change the entire landscape of Southeast Asia if something goes wrong,” he said.
He said it was not the right time to go to the disputed sea and assert our right but assured the public that he would one day assert our claims.
“But you will have to trust me na pupunta ako doon but I will assert something, and that is our inherent right one day really put at stake to what we think is ours. It is not the time to do it,” he said.
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