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Duterte says he supports arbitration case vs China

Duterte’s spokesperson Peter Laviña  saud Duterte is backing Philippines' arbitration case against China over West Philippine Sea dispute. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando,file

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said that he is supporting the arbitration case of the Philippines that questions China’s claims in areas in the West Philippine Sea.

Duterte’s spokesperson, Peter Laviña, said the mayor is hopeful that the Philippines will win in the case that is now being handled by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands.

"As a Filipino, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte fully supports the case now pending in The Hague questioning China's occupation of areas in the West Philippine Sea that the Philippines considers its territory. He is hopeful for a favorable ruling for the Philippines," Laviña said.

Laviña said Duterte also believes the Philippines should continue to work closely with other countries to resolve the territorial issue but he stressed that the mayor is willing to conduct bilateral talks with China if the multilateral approach proves to be inadequate to resolve the issue.

"Mr. Duterte further believes that any military conflict involving the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea should not happen as it will derail Philippine economic growth," Laviña said.

In February, when he launched his campaign, Duterte said he is open to conducting bilateral talks with China and is open for joint exploration agreement to resolve the West Philippine Sea dispute.

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