PH won’t go to war with ‘good friend’ China, says Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte asserted on Wednesday that the Philippines would not go to war with China, the Asian superpower being a “good friend.”
“For the record, we do not want war with China. China is a good friend. We owed it a big debt of gratitude, among others for the vaccines [it has donated to us],” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino, in a pre-recorded briefing.
“So China, let it be known, is a good friend and we do not want trouble with them especially a war,” he added.
Most of the Philippines’ first COVID-19 vaccines — the CoronaVac made by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech — were donated by the Chinese government.
Duterte eventually noted that, despite the friendship with China, there were things that he would not be ready to give up, like sovereign territory.
“But there are things which are not really subject to a compromise… I hope they will understand, but I have the interest of my country also to protect. It might not really be an armed might, but it is really a claim of sovereignty which I cannot [impose yet],” Duterte said.
He said that he would not allow military troops to leave the West Philippine Sea despite China’s demand.
“That is ours. China must understand that if need be, we will — I don’t know what will happen next. We’ve done the legal [part],” Duterte added.
His comments came again from statements on the subject were issued by opposition groups and former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who has been a staunch defender of the country’s rights on the West Philippine Sea.
Last April 25, Carpio said that it seemed that Malacañang was running “like a headless chicken” when it came to the maritime dispute with China. He made that statement after having traded barbs with Duterte over the issue.
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