Duterte on sea row: We will proceed accordingly
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte is willing to talk with China regarding the conflict over the West Philippine Sea, but such discussion may have to wait until after the issuance of a ruling by the United Nations arbitral tribunal on the maritime case filed by Manila against Beijing.

“For the West Philippine Sea, we remain optimistic that the judgment will be in our favor and if it is not, we will accept it as part of the country that honors international commitment by the UNCLOS,” Duterte said, referring to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Both China and the Philippines are signatories to UNCLOS.

Duterte admitted the Philippines is not ready to go to war with China. The new President’s stand is tamer compared to his predecessor Benigno Aquino III’s pronouncements.

“Let’s talk. We are not prepared to go to war, war is a dirty word, we will proceed accordingly after we shall have the copy of arbitral judgment,” he said.

“We will decide for the better interest of the country, in the meantime we are just hopeful,” the President said.

Duterte made the statement at the celebration of the 69th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), where he also issued marching orders to the police and the military to work together on the campaign against drugs.

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