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China ready to help Philippines in war on drugs

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, then still to be proclaimed president, receives a copy of the book on Chinese President Xi Jinping from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call at Davao City on May 16, 2016. Office of the City Mayor Davao City via AP

MANILA, Philippines — China has pledged to help the Philippines in the campaign against illegal drugs, with its embassy saying narcotics are "a common enemy of mankind."

In a statement to the media, Chinese Embassy spokesperson Li Lingxiao said that China "has expressed explicitly to the new administration China’s willingness for effective cooperation in this regard, and would like to work out a specific plan of action with the Philippine side."

Li said the Chinese government has been "firm and severe in drug control and in punishing all drug criminals in accordance with laws regardless their nationalities" and added it has cooperated effectively with other countries against drugs.

"Fighting against all drug-related crimes is shared responsibility of all countries in the world," Li also said.

Duterte, who has promised a bloody war against drugs and criminality in the country, said Monday that he plans to raise grievances with China over links that some Chinese nationals allegedly have with illegal drug syndicates.

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"One day I will ask China, Why is the situation like this? I won’t say why are you sending them, but why is it that most of the guys who come here do drugs, even inside jail?" Duterte said in a video release on Monday.

He said that many Chinese nationals have been killed in police operations against drugs.

The Philippine National Police also seized a "floating shabu lab" aboard a ship in Subic Bay that had sailed to the Philippines from Hong Kong. Four Chinese nationals were arrested in the raid.

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