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Duterte gets invitation from US Embassy on his position about disputed sea

/ 05:21 PM March 07, 2016

ANTIPOLO CITY—Presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte disclosed during a campaign sortie here on Monday that the US Embassy in Manila had invited him for a meeting to clarify his position about the disputes in the South China Sea.

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“I told them I would look for (a better schedule) this month,” Duterte told reporters in an ambush interview.

“They said they were not in a hurry,” the mayor said.

Asked if he considered such as meddling in the internal affairs of the country, the tough-talking mayor said he saw nothing wrong with the said invitation.

He said other candidates might have been invited as well.

“I am the only one making it public because I want to make my stand about Spratlys clear,” he said.

Duterte has been vocal about his position in the South China Sea disputes, which includes the possibility of a joint exploration partnership with China in the energy-rich South China Sea in exchange for helping the country build its railway system.

READ: Duterte open to talks with China, joint exploration at disputed sea

“I am lukewarm towards the US,” he said in a speech at the provincial capitol here, stressing that the US knew about the Chinese incursions into the Philippine territorial waters early on, however, it had acted only recently.

The Philippines is awaiting the ruling of the UN arbitral tribunal on its case challenging the legality of China’s claim of “indisputable sovereignty” over almost the entire South China Sea.

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The five-member international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands is expected to hand down its ruling in April or May this year. RAM

READ: UN tribunal to issue ruling on PH vs China case by 2016

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TAGS: arbitral tribunal, China, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Elections 2016, Philippines, South China Sea, UN, US embassy
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