China just wants to be a friend of PH, says Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — Amid fresh reports of China’s alleged aggression in contested areas of the West Philippine Sea, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday claimed that China would just want to become a friend of the Philippines.
“China just wants to be friend with us. They gave us guns and ammunition. I went there because America failed to deliver what we ordered,” the President said, speaking partly in Filipino, during a PDP-Laban campaign rally in Malabon City.
Early last March, Filipino fishermen complained about being driven away by the Chinese coast guard while fishing at Panatag Shoal, also known as Scarborough Shoal.
More recently, the Armed Forces of the Philippines reported an extraordinary surge of vessels from a Chinese fishing fleet around Philippine-occupied islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua said the Chinese government was currently looking at the incident on Pag-Asa Island. He also assured that the vessels seen in the area were not armed.
The Chinese envoy also said that fishing in the West Philippine Sea could go as usual, but he reminded Filipino fishers of certain limits in the contested areas. /atm
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