Pimentel urges Duterte to talk diplomacy, rather than war, with China

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. (File photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

“Avoid talk of war.”

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said this on Thursday, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s mention of “war” while talking about the disputed West Philippine Sea in a speech Tuesday.

“Sabi ko, ‘Mr. Xi Jinping, we also have a claim. You know we have the award. But I will not insist on recovering the award because it would result in a war, and it will be a massacre. I know. But please be it noted that one day during my term, I will assert,” Duterte said in his earlier speech.

READ: Duterte threatens war if China monopolizes oil, uranium in West PH Sea

Pimentel agreed with Duterte’s assertion of the Philippine’ rights over the territory.

“Tama si President [The President is right]. What is our is ours,” the senator said in a text message to reporters.

“China should respect PH sovereignty and sovereign rights and international law principles. But we should avoid mentioning war or talking about it,” Pimentel added.

Instead of talking about war, the senator said there should be emphasis on diplomacy to settle issues between states.

Senator Gringo Honasan, meanwhile said, statements coming from the President himself are “entirely his prerogative.”

Because after all, Honasan said, the President would take full responsibility for his own pronouncements. /jpv