Duterte: Allies’ interests to be considered in talks with China
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said the interests of the Philippines’ allies would be taken into consideration as the government eyed bilateral talks with China after winning the arbitration case.
“We do not also want to offend the United States. Why? Because we have identified ourselves allied with the Western powers,” Duterte said in a speech on Thursday night.
“So there’s an interest which we should not forget: Our interest and the interest of our allies,” he added.
The President was at the testimonial dinner held in his honor at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City.
The Chief Executive asked former President Fidel Ramos to head the country’s negotiations with China.
“I would like to respectfully ask him to go to China and start the back talk,” he said.
“I cannot give you the wherewithal now. I want to consult many people including President Ramos,” he added.
Duterte reiterated his earlier pronouncement that “war is not an option.”
The 88-year old Ramos said he did not want to show disrespect to Duterte but “you have to consider my increasing age.”
“This is not to show disrespect to the President of the Philippines but you have to consider my increasing age,” he said.
Ramos said a Philippine team must be formed for the bilateral talks.
“We must form the Philippine team. Yan ang pinakamahalaga sa ating lahat at para sa ating Pangulo,” he said.
Even after the favorable ruling, Duterte said there were still “lots of complications there” as China had insisted “a space domain.”
“Now there are a lot of complications there. Because now that the tribunal has ruled, ‘yung arbitral decision states that … And if China would insist on a space domain, that you have to identify yourself before you can cross that vast sea there, America will not like it,” he said.
He said that if China would insist on its rights over the disputed sea and countries would need to ask permission from China when navigating, other problems would arise.
“It’s just too narrow there. Alam mo ‘pag nagsara ‘yan, lahat tataas because even the insurance of the cargoes and the boats, and the ships there, tataas,” he said.
“So you do create another problem for our economy and somebody else’s finances. So careful tayo diyan. So we have to navigate with courtesy,” he added./rga
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