Duterte to stick to territorial claim in China visit
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday left the country for his state visit in Brunei and China saying there will no bargaining on the Philippines’ territorial rights in the South China Sea.
“We will stick towards our claim. We do not bargain anything though. We continue to insist that it’s ours and that the Tribunal, the international decision will be taken up and, but there will be no hard impositions,” said Duterte in a brief press conference at the Davao International Airport before he left for Brunei.
"We will talk but maybe paraphrase everything in the [arbitral] judgment and set the limits of our territories," he added.
He promised to be very careful not to bargain anything that doesn’t belong to him saying that territory belong to the Filipino people.
“There are only two options: we go to trouble or we talk. We can choose to pass there in between,” he said.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled last July that China’s claim to nearly all of the South China Sea through the nine-dash line has no basis. China has refused to comply with the ruling.
Chinese vessels remain in Scarborough Shoal where Filipinos have been unable to fish since 2012.
Duterte will stay in Brunei until October 18. He will fly to China where he will remain until October 21. It is the first visit by a Philippine president to Beijing since 2011.
Duterte agreed with Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s pronouncement that he might face impeachment once he gives up the country’s sovereignty.
"He is correct, it's an impeachable offense. I do not fight with that statement. It's all correct. It's all legal. I agree with him," said Duterte.
Duterte said he is looking forward in renewing the ties of friendship between the Philippines and China and reaffirming the commitment to work closer to achieve shared goals for our countries and peoples.
“As we mark this year of the 41st anniversary of the establishment of the relations between China and the Philippines, we will look at the sum total of our relationships. We shall seek ways to strengthen cooperation, particularly to intensify two-way trade and investments,” he said.
Duterte will discuss with Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah to develop the halal sector and medium and small enterprises.
“I shall seek to further strengthen joint resolve at securing just and lasting peace in Mindanao,” he said.
He will seek closer collaboration and mutual support on the government’s drug campaign against illegal drugs, which he believe as an important step towards attaining a common goal of realizing an ASEAN drug-free community.
He is set to visit the Filipino community in Brunei before leaving for China .
Duterte said we will continue to espouse cooperation and collaboration with friendly nations on the basis of sovereign equality, non-interference and mutual respect.
“In all my dealings, I will remain true to the Constitutional mandate reposed on me to pursue an independent foreign policy and to uphold the national interest of the Philippines,” he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS