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Duterte trip to China to focus on non-military ties – Yasay

‘Other aspects of relationship with China to be boosted; Military alliance with US to stay’
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, left, shakes hands with Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte, right, as Laos' Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, watches during the 19th Asean-China summit, in Vientiane, Laos, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. AP

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, left, shakes hands with Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte, right, as Laos’ Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, watches during the 19th Asean-China summit, in Vientiane, Laos, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. AP

MANILA – President Duterte’s trip to China tentatively set on Oct. 17 will be a confidence-building visit with the aim to “strengthen and promote other aspects of “the country’s relationship with China,” according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay.

Yasay also made it clear that the government’s bid to “restore ties with China that have turned cold in the previous administration” did not mean it would abrogate its alliance with the United States or weaken the friendship.

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“While we would like to foster closer relationship with China, we will certainly not engage in any alliance with China in a military view point because that has never been the intention of the President,” Yasay said at the proposed 2017 budget deliberation of the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Senate.

He said President Duterte had been telling traditional partners and allies that “he will have only one military alliance and our only ally in that respect, is the US.”

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Still, Yasay said President Duterte has been concerned that the country’s joint military exercises with the US have “not met the objectives” of “enhancing and beefing up our self reliance in addressing as they arise, internal and external threats of the nation.” President Duterte is determined to stop a dysfunctional dependence on foreign aid mechanisms and arrangements that have failed to address the security needs of the Philippines, according to Yasay.

“This is what he is trying to bring across to our American friends. If these objectives are not achieved and we continue to be dependent in so far as being able to address our internal and external security needs and concerns, then these joint exercises might not serve the purpose, and consequently, he said, if it will continue to be such during his administration, this will not be continued,” the foreign secretary said.  SFM

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TAGS: China, Department of Foreign Affairs, Diplomacy, Foreign affairs, International relations, joint military exercises, Military Alliance, Perfecto Yasay, Philippine president, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, Rodrigo Duterte, United States, US
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