DUTERTE WON’T BRING UP SOUTH CHINA SEA ISSUE AT ASEAN SUMMIT
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday he would not bring up the South China Sea issue when he attends the ASEAN Summit in Laos next month.
Duterte is set to join other Southeast Asian leaders during the summit on September 6 to 8 in Vientiane.
"No, I will only bring the (South China Sea) issue when we are together, face-to-face," he said in a press conference.
Duterte's stance differs from his predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III who raised the territorial dispute with China in almost all international fora.
Last July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on July 12 rejected China's claim using the nine-dash line to most of the South China Sea as having no legal basis.
Duterte said if he would quarrel with China and make noises, Beijing would not even talk to the Philippine government.
He noted he tapped former President Fidel Ramos to help in talks with China. Ramos went to Hong Kong last week and met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying. Ramos said he was invited by China for talks.
The administration wants to "create environment where we can sit down and talk directly and that is the time that I would say we proceed from here," Duterte said. Celerina Monte/DMS