Duterte to Chinese envoy: Treat us as your brothers, not enemies
Treat us as your brothers and not enemies.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday personally pleaded to the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines to allow Filipino fishermen to fish over the disputed West Philippine Sea.
“I hope the Chinese may find a place in their hearts for the Filipinos. I hope you treat us [as] your brothers and not enemies and take note of our plight,” Duterte said in front of Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua during his speech at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The President reiterated his willingness to hold bilateral talks with China after the United Nation’s favored the Philippine diplomatic protest on the disputed West Philippine Sea.
But he said he won’t flaunt the sea ruling yet.
“I will never bring the matter because it might lead only to the suspension of the talks in China and that is not good, Mr. Ambassador. So I propose that we just have a soft landing everywhere,” he said.
But the Chief Executive said the Philippines would eventually discuss the ruling with China.
“I will not use the judgment arbitral now but I would, one day, sit in front of your representative or you and then I will lay bare my position. And I would say that this paper, I cannot get out of the four corners of this document,” he said.
Duterte reiterated his earlier pronouncements that the country would not wage a war against China but made remarks in jest.
“But for now, Mr. Ambassador, I want to just talk to you for the moment. Maybe give us time to build our forces also. You have so much superiority,” he said in jest, drawing laughter from the crowd.
But he went serious then said that he would rather seek peace than war.
“I don’t go to war. There’s always war and peace. If I am not ready for war, then, peace is the only way,” he said. RAM/rga
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