PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he would be running to China to resolve the ongoing territorial row in the South China Sea because the United States would not die for the Filipinos.
Just days after admitting he could not lose American support, Duterte said the country’s top strategic ally would not help in any way should the times get rough.
“I do not expect the United States to die for us, so we will just have to navigate our way around here,” Duterte said during the inauguration of Filinvest Development Corp.’s Misamis Power Plant.
“I’m willing to talk. I’m going to China because I will present the problem to them.”
China has not stopped its building activities in the South China Sea even if a UN-backed arbitral tribunal has rejected its claims to most of the area.
Duterte said he and China would be bargaining in good faith in pursuing their claims.
He said the Philippines and China used to have good relations, but that changed when his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, won the presidency.
“When Aquino stepped in and cornered them, China became furious. They are really mad at him,” Duterte said.
During the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Manila signed a Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking with Beijing and Hanoi. The three countries agreed to conduct joint explorations in that area of the disputed South China Sea, which is well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.