Duterte not 'kowtowing' to China in sea row, says Locsin | Global News

Duterte not ‘kowtowing’ to China in sea row, says Locsin

/ 11:03 AM August 26, 2020

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration is not “kowtowing” to China on the maritime dispute in the South China Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Wednesday.

“There is no kowtowing. The President himself confronted [Chinese President] Xi Jinping,” Locsin said in an interview over ABS-CBN Channel.

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“To say kowtowing is to subscribe to the narrative of the opposition, which is just so desperate to take over. Well, they just have to win an election in 2022,” he added.

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President Rodrigo Duterte, who is trying to forge warmer ties with China, has been repeatedly criticized for supposedly setting aside the landmark 2016 arbitral ruling against Beijing’s mythical nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.

But Locsin said Duterte had brought up the ruling with Xi in one of their earlier bilateral meetings.

The President, however, was met with a “not very nice” reaction from the Chinese leader, according to Locsin.

“I actually told the President ‘Come on, this is a Belt and Road forum, there are 47 or so countries, President Xi Jinping must be so tired meeting everyone. Please do not bring up anymore what we already brought up about the South China Sea.’ And he (Duterte) did,” the foreign affairs chief said.

“He brought it up and the reaction was not very nice. But he brought it up. That is something he does with his counterpart,” Locsin added.

Manila’s top diplomat also responded to Senator Risa Hontiveros’ call to the chief executive to “speak out” and come up with a plan to address Chinese aggression in Philippine territory.

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“If Risa Hontiveros would only stop listening to her own voice and trying to listen to others,” Locsin said.

“The first thing about this plan is you’re looking at it. He appointed me, knowing where I was coming from. I was in the UN, I was very firm about protecting what is ours, I was very firm about  never bending a knee to China. And that’s why he took me,” he added.

Before becoming foreign affairs secretary, Locsin served as the Philippines’ permanent representative to the United Nations for over a year.

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“The President has repeatedly declared…I don’t know what Risa Hontiveros wants. Maybe she should wait ’til they’re in power,” the foreign affairs chief said, apparently alluding to the opposition.

JPV

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TAGS: arbitral ruling, Features, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Global Nation, President Rodrigo Duterte, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea

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