Duterte confirms he will raise arbitral ruling in next China visit
MANILA, Philippines—Speaking before Filipino-Chinese businessmen, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday confirmed that he will raise the subject of the Philippines’ landmark arbitral ruling against China when he visits the Asian powerhouse later this month.
“‘Yung arbitral ruling, pag-usapan natin ‘yan. That’s why I’m going to China.,” Duterte said during the oath-taking of newly-elected officials of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc.
Duterte is reportedly set to fly to China later this month and meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He is also set to watch the 2019 Fiba World Cup where Gilas, the Philippine national team, is set to face Italy, Serbia and Angola.
However, Duterte noted that he will make sure not to provoke China in invoking the arbitral ruling that invalidated Beijing’s expansive nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.
Duterte also bared that he will go to China to inaugurate school building built to honor her mother who was a teacher.
“So I’m going there to inaugurate that, but before that samahan ako ng Vice President mismo ng China. Doon sa basketball,” Duteret said, referring to the Fiba World Cup.
“Biro mo, totoo yan. It’s a break in protocol. Siya mismo ang mag ano. Bakit man ako makipag away diyan sa, mag escort kaya yung Vice President ng America sa akin papunta ako dun?” he added.
The Philippines, along with fellow Southeast Asian neighbors Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, have overlapping claims to the sea along with China. Despite an agreement to refrain from undertaking provocative actions, China has continued to expand and militarize territories that it claims in the maritime region.
In July 2016, the Philippines sealed a historic win against China before the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal in The Hague, which invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claims to virtually the entire South China Sea.
China, however, has refused to honor the ruling./je
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