Duterte presses China on sea code completion
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday pressed China to fast track the completion of the code of conduct in the South China Sea, warning that the delay could lead to a “miscalculation” that could increase tension in the disputed waterway.
“China should by now be ready with a code of conduct of the sea because the longer it takes for them to do it, the more they are egging — they are titillating America and the rest of the superpowers to test the waters always,” he told reporters after gracing the premiere of movie “Kontradiksyon” in Mandaluyong City.
He warned that a miscalculation in the South China Sea, a vital sea lane in the Asia-Pacific region, could lead to “terrible” consequences.
“The second itong sa China, it could be silent irritation but the — if it goes — if it explodes the consequences are really terrible. It could not be acceptable to anybody because it will end everything,” he said.
On Sunday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte expressed his disappointment over the delay in the crafting of a code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea at the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Bangkok.
“The Chief Executive explained that the longer the delay for an early conclusion of the COC, the higher the probability of maritime incidents happening and the greater the chance for miscalculations that may spiral out of control,” Panelo said in a statement.
The Philippines serves as the coordinator of the Asean-China dialogue partnership from 2018 to 2021, which includes negotiations for the COC.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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