Make PH a province of China, Duterte jokes in front of Chinese envoy
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday joked that China could make the Philippines its province.
“Gusto ninyo gawain na lang ninyo kaming province, [parang] Fujian, pati Philippine province of China, eh ‘di wala tayong problema. Libre na lahat,” he said in a speech at the Fiesta Pavilion of the Manila Hotel.
His remarks drew applause from the audience of Chinese-Filipino businessmen – whose guests included Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua.
It was a joint event – the 10th Biennial National Convention and 20th Founding Anniversary Celebration of the Chinese Filipino Business Club, Inc. (CFBCI).
Duterte said that Chinese President Xi jinping promised him that China would not build any structures on the contested Scarborough Shoal.
“Ganoon na lang ang respeto ko kay Xi Jinping. Matakot ka? Sabi nila they will not build… They assured us, they will not build anything there sa Scarborough Shoal,” he said.
“Maniwala kayo kasi ‘yan ang commitment sa akin ng China. And galing kay Amba – si Xi Jinping mismo ang nagsabi and he is a man of honor,” he added.
Duterte also mentioned that negotiations for a joint exploration between the Philippines and China in the disputed South China Sea were underway.
“Kasi ‘yung joint [exploration] naman. ‘Yung oil mo dito mo ang pinakamarami. Two-third sa amin, one-third kayo, mayaman naman kayo eh. Sus. At saka probinsya na kami. Oh, province of Philippines, Republic of China,” he said.
The hotly contested South China Sea is believed to be rich in mineral and oil deposits. /atm
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