China backs Duterte's drug war

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing has expressed its support for President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign against the illegal drug trade despite criticisms from the United States, the European Union and some human rights groups.

The chief executive has come under fire for the rising number of extrajudicial and vigilante killings of drug suspects ever since he took office.

"Under the leadership of President Duterte, the new Philippine government enacted policies that prioritize combating drug-related crimes. China understands and supports that," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a press briefing on Thursday.

Geng stressed that the Chinese government has played a positive role in the international anti-drug campaign.

"China understands and supports that. We stand ready to have anti-drug cooperation with the Philippines and formulate a common action plan for it," Geng said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry official further noted that fighting drug crimes is a shared responsibility among all countries around the world.

"The Chinese government is resolute in cracking down on drug crimes. With clearly-defined policies and notable achievements, China is a staunch force in the international endeavor against drug crimes," the Chinese official said.

READ: US senators reconsider assistance to Philippines amid drug war | Philippines to US: Let us chart our own course

An American senator has warned that the United States may reconsider its assistance to the Philippines if the extrajudicial killings and state-sanctioned violence continue.

US Sen. Patrick Leahy said that it may be necessary to look into the conditions on assistance to the Duterte administration to ensure that taxpayer funds are properly spent.

The senator authored the Leahy Law which prohibits the US Department of State and Department of Defense from providing assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the Philippine government respects the opinion of other nations and stressed that the country remains committed to human rights.

"We respect the opinion of others but we also give ourselves the permission to chart our own course and fulfill our destiny on our own terms," Abella said.

RELATED: Duterte to visit China on October 20

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