Manila: ‘max­i­mum na­tional in­ter­ests’

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMER­I­CAS -

“Through of­fer­ing olive branches to both China and Ja­pan, Duterte is pur­su­ing the Philip­pines’ max­i­mum na­tional in­ter­ests, since both China and Ja­pan could of­fer fi­nan­cial sup­port to his coun­try,” he said.

Jin Yong, deputy head of the School of For­eign Stud­ies at Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Univer­sity of China, said Duterte should stick to in­de­pen­dent diplo­macy in­stead of be­ing in­flu­enced by Ja­pan.

Ac­cord­ing to the Chi­naPhilip­pines joint dec­la­ra­tion is­sued on Fri­day, the two coun­tries agreed to main­tain re­straint and en­hance bi­lat­eral ne­go­ti­a­tions over the South China Sea dis­pute.

“I think that Duterte’s re­marks in Ja­pan should mostly be in ac­cor­dance with what he said in China, that is, to en­hance co­op­er­a­tion and set aside dis­putes,” For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang said on Wed­nes­day.

Duterte also said in Ja­pan that he did not pick quar­rels with his neigh­bors, but he had tough words for Washington, Reuters re­ported.

“I have de­clared that I will pur­sue an in­de­pen­dent for­eign pol­icy. I want, maybe in the next two years, my coun­try free of the pres­ence of for­eign mil­i­tary troops. I want them out,” Duterte said.

“And if I have to re­vise or ab­ro­gate agree­ments, ex­ec­u­tive agree­ments, this shall be the last ma­neu­ver, war games be­tween the United States and the Philip­pines mil­i­tary,” he added.

A meet­ing be­tween US and Philip­pine mil­i­tary of­fi­cials, orig­i­nally sched­uled for Oct 24, has been post­poned to Nov 24 af­ter the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion to de­cide the fate of the decades-old bi­lat­eral joint ex­er­cises.

White House Press Sec­re­tary Josh Earnest said he was not aware of the meet­ing.

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