- President appealed to China not to see PH as enemies in West PH Sea issue
- He said they must be understanding of the plight of Filipinos who go to fish there
- Duterte also vowed to eventually bring up UN ruling in the future
MANILA, Philippines – Treat Filipinos as your brothers.
President Rodrigo Duterte made this appeal to China even as bilateral talks between it and the Philippines are set to start.
During his speech at the Libingan ng mga Bayani to commemorate National Heroes’ Day, Duterte told Chinese ambassador Zhao Jianhua who was present during the rites of his fervent wish for both the Chinese and Filipino people to get along.
“I hope the Chinese people will find a place in their heart for Filipinos, for after all there is Chinese blood in me. I hope you treat us as your brothers and not enemies and take note of the plight of our citizens,” the Philippine Star quoted him as saying.
Continuing, Duterte said China should be understanding of the Filipino fishermen who go to fish in the West Philippine Sea.
“Please understand the reason why they are there is because they are poor,” he said. “I don’t want to go to war. So if I don’t, there is always war and peace. If I am not ready for war, then peace is the only means.”
At the same time, the president promised to eventually bring up the country’s victory ruling as the basis for its negotiations with China—but not for now.
I propose that I will not use the arbitral judgment now, but I will sit in front of a representative or you, and I will lay there my position and I will say: ‘This paper, I cannot get out with the four corners of this document,’ which is the arbitral ruling,” he said.