Duterte says China ''delaying'' completion of code of conduct in South China Sea
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday China has been delaying the completion of a code of conduct of parties in the South China Sea.
In an interview with reporters in Malacanang, Duterte said this was one of the reasons, apart from raising the arbitral ruling, why he would go to China later this month.
"I said that's why I'm going there. They are delaying it (COC) and it's causing so many incidents and one day it will - one mistake, a miscalculation there," he said.
Asked who was delaying the completion of the COC, he said, "It could be China. Nobody else is asking us to wait."
China, which has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea, and ASEAN, including the Philippines, have agreed to work on a COC.
Aside from the Philippines, the other ASEAN member countries, which are claimants also in the South China Sea are Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Duterte said he would discuss with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, the situation in the West Philippine Sea in Beijing.
"So I'd talk about the arbitral ruling itself. Then the Code of Conduct and the marine resources. Let us first be sure that we have the access. And I'm most interested in the exploitation of the natural resources," he added.
Duterte also assured he would not allow any foreign troops in the Philippine claimed territories, including Pag-asa in Palawan.
"We already claimed Pag-asa and occupied ( it). That’s why there’s a base there. But I’d like to assure also. I would not allow any foreign troops. I do not want trouble. Not the Chinese, not the Koreans, not the Americans, not anybody else except Filipino troops," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS