Duterte asks FVR to head negotiations with China, says ‘war not an option’
MANILA — President Duterte asked former President Fidel V. Ramos on Thursday night to head the country’s negotiation with China in the wake of an international court’s ruling recognizing the Philippines’ maritime claims over the West Philippine Sea.
Speaking at the testimonial dinner held in his honor at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City, the President reiterated that “war is not an option” in dealing with Beijing.
He said he would seek the advice of several individuals, among them Ramos, FVR to many, in determining the next step for the government.
“I would like to respectfully ask (Ramos) to go to China and start the talks,” Duterte said during the gathering hosted by his fellow alumni from the San Beda College.
“I cannot give you the wherewithal now. I want to consult many people including President Ramos,” he added.
Mr. Duterte immediately convened his Cabinet on Tuesday night, moments after the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration issued its decision favoring the Philippines.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the President told them that he wanted to pursue bilateral talks with China after the country’s historic victory. SFM
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