President Rodrigo Duterte admitted Tuesday that he had a quarrel with China over its warnings against Philippine military planes flying near Beijing’s artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea. But Malacañang said Wednesday that the friendly ties between the two countries remain warm.
“Kaya nag-away kami. We had a little bit of – hindi naman animosity kasi ‘yung Navy palapit doon eh parang sinisigawan nila, ‘You Filipinos, you get there you will be causing trouble.’ Eh samantalang kaibigan tayo,” Duterte said during Tuesday’s televised intimate tête-à-tête with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in Malacañang Palace.
READ: PH airs concern over Chinese radio warnings
Sough for comment, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that Duterte and Xi Jinping did not have a fight but that the Philippine leader only likely lost his temper.
“Hindi naman nag-away kung hindi uminit ang ulo niya siguro, is a better expression. Uminit ang ulo niya doon sa nabalita na warning na ibinigay doon sa mga piloto natin na lumilipad sa isla na pinag-aari natin. So uminit lang ang ulo, nagkainitian lang, kumbaga,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
The Palace official said the Philippines’ friendly policy towards China remains despite alleged harassment against Filipino forces in the West Philippine Sea.
Since he assumed power, Duterte has chosen to engage China in bilateral talks than to insist the ruling from The Hague that invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.
“Wala pong pagbabago sa ating polisiya,” Roque said. /kga
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