Philip­pine leader says he won’t ‘im­pose’ on China In­side

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI zhangyunbi@chi­

Visit­ing Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte struck a con­cil­ia­tory pose dur­ing the sec­ond day of his four-day visit to China on Wed­nes­day, down­play­ing the sen­si­tive South China Sea is­sue at his first news con­fer­ence in Bei­jing.

“I’m here on a state visit to bring my re­spect to the great Chi­nese peo­ple and the Chi­nese govern­ment,” he said.

The plain-spo­ken leader de­fended his con­tro­ver­sial anti-drug cam­paign and blasted US mil­i­tary in­volve­ment around the world.

But he also added a bit of lev­ity late Wed­nes­day in ex­plain­ing his lack of pub­lic en­gage­ments in the first 24 hours of his stay in the Chi­nese cap­i­tal since his ar­rival on Tues­day night.

“I slept,” he said when asked what he did on Wed­nes­day, trig­ger­ing laugh­ter from re­porters.

China is the first coun­try out­side ASEAN he has vis­ited since tak­ing of­fice on June 30. He will meet with Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang and top leg­is­la­tor Zhang De­jiang on Thurs­day.

The visit has stirred hopes that Duterte will raise China-Philip­pine re­la­tions from the low caused by the South China Sea ar­bi­tra­tion case filed against Bei­jing by the Cab­i­net of his pre­de­ces­sor Benigno Aquino III. China has re­fused to rec­og­nize the re­sult, which it says is in­valid.

When a re­porter with the Ja­panese TV broad­caster NHK asked if he would raise the ar­bi­tra­tion is­sue when meet­ing with Xi, Duterte said it is not the time to do so, and he will tell Xi, “I’m not here to make hard im­po­si­tions”.

“I have to be cour­te­ous. ... It is a mat­ter of courtesy and an Ori­en­tal way,” he said, adding, “Be­cause I am a vis­i­tor now, I can­not de­stroy the good will.”

On the po­ten­tial eco­nomic out­come of his meet­ing with Chi­nese lead­ers on Thurs­day, Duterte said, “We will be ask­ing for help from China.” He did not elab­o­rate.

Ruan Zongze, vice-pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said, “As long as the two sides em­bark on di­a­logue and re­turn to consensus, di­ver­gences will be man­aged and con­trolled and a new win­dow will be open for fur­ther re­pair of China-Philip­pine ties.”

For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said, “China-Philip­pine ties re­turn­ing to the right track of healthy, sta­ble de­vel­op­ment is good news for both coun­tries as well as for re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity,” Hua said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.