Philippines not asking help from China, says DFA chief
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is not asking help from China, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. asserted on Tuesday.
A Twitter user had asked Locsin why the Philippines “is still asking help from China” after the latter disclosed that Japan, Australia, and the United States “extended the most development and military assistance to the Philippines.”
Locsin answered: “We are not.”
The country’s top diplomat clarified that the loan agreements between the Philippines and China are “commercial transactions.”
“[C]ultural exchanges are just that. [W]e don’t ask help. [W]e offer a friendship always extended to [C]hina,” he said.
[B]all is in [C]hina’s court to reciprocate. DU’s words ‘We are not yet ready to go to war with China’ shows friendship is fraying,” he added, supposedly referring to an earlier statement of President Rodrigo Duterte.
we are not. loans are commercial transactions. cultural exchanges are just that. we don't ask help. we offer a friendship always extended to china. ball is in china's court to reciprocate. DU's words 'We are not yet ready to go to war with China" shows friendship is fraying. https://t.co/Sri87FzLOR
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) April 9, 2019
The Philippines and China have signed numerous loan agreements to fund infrastructure projects under the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
However, the President later ordered a review of all contracts entered into by the government, including those with China, to remove any onerous provision detrimental to public interest.
This amid a longstanding maritime dispute between the Philippines and China over the South China Sea.
In 2013, the Philippines filed a case challenging the expansive claims of China in the South China Sea before the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The arbitral tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016, which China refused to recognize.
Duterte has chosen to set aside the ruling and engaged China in bilateral talks. /ee