Duterte urges China to maintain camaraderie with Filipinos

  • President Duterte told Ambassador Zhao Jianhua to preserve comradeship with Filipinos regarding the issue on territorial claims on South China Sea
  • The Philippines victoriously claimed the South China Sea over China’s economic claims on the territory
  • Duterte sent former president Fidel Ramos to Hong Kong for an ice-breaking meeting with Fu Ying, chair of the foreign affairs committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s communist-controlled legislature

“I hope you treat us like your brothers, not your enemies and take note of the plight of our citizens,” President Duterte told Ambassador Zhao Jianhua in a speech at the National Heroes Day rites, urging China to preserve comradeship with Filipinos regarding the issue on territorial claims on South China Sea.

“If we continue to treat each other us brothers, and understand, especially the plight of [Filipino] fishermen — I know the dynamics inside China, it has been explained to me very well — the Chinese people might find place a place in their hearts for the Filipinos,” Duterte added.

The Philippines victoriously claimed the South China Sea over China’s economic claims on the territory, which according to the international arbitral tribunal’s ruling has no legal basis on claiming most of the strategically vital waters.

However, China vowed to ignore the ruling towards the reclamation of the South China Sea and called for direct talks with the Philippines, but insisted it will not compromise on its claims.

“I will not use the judgment arbitral, but I would one day sit in front of your representative or you and lay bare my position,” Duterte said, vowing that he is not going to bring up the ruling of United Nations-backed court that led to the country’s victory over China on the territorial claim on South China Sea.

Duterte also repeatedly stated that he would not “taunt or flaunt” the court’s verdict. He sent former president Fidel Ramos to Hong Kong for an ice-breaking meeting with Fu Ying, chair of the foreign affairs committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s communist-controlled legislature.

“For now, I want to just talk to you, maybe give us time to build our forces also. You have so much superiority,” he added.

He also guaranteed that “I do not go to war. If I am ready for war, then peace is the only way.”

Other Southeast Asian countries namely Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan also claim territories with the sea which is believed to be a rich source of vast gas reserves and through which more than $5 trillion in annual shipping trade passes.

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