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‘Why the closeness to China?’ Sereno asks Duterte

/ 02:59 PM November 21, 2018
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, proposes a toast to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a state banquet at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. President Xi Jinping is on a two-day state visit, the first by a Chinese leader in 13 years. (Mark R. Cristino, Pool Photo via AP)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, proposes a toast to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a state banquet at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. President Xi Jinping is on a two-day state visit, the first by a Chinese leader in 13 years. (Mark R. Cristino, Pool Photo via AP)

“Why the closeness to China?”

Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno asked this to President Rodrigo Duterte during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit to the country.

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READ: Xi Jinping arrives in PH for two-day state visit

“We as a nation, especially our President, should not forget what is most important to Filipinos – love of God, freedom and dignity of every human being, preservation of the Philippines for Filipinos,” Sereno said in a statement.

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“China opposes and crushes those values. Why the closeness to China and the repudiation of our international friends who share these values? Don’t negate who we are as a people, Mr. President,” she added.

It can be recalled that the President has expressed disdain towards the international community’s criticism on his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

READ: 38 nations ask PH: Stop killings, probe abuses

Meanwhile, China has claimed nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.

However, the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal ruled in favor of the country’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea in July 2016, a ruling that China refused to recognize.

READ: Philippines wins arbitration case vs. China over South China Sea

Duterte has chosen to set aside the ruling and engaged China in bilateral talks. /je

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TAGS: Asia, China, Diplomacy, Duterte, Features, Sereno, South China Sea, state visit, Xi, Xi Jinping
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