Duterte won't bargain Philippine territory with China
In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during his address to a Filipino business sector in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Duterte acknowledged Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, that he can be impeached if he concedes the country's territorial claims in the South China Sea in upcoming talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders in Beijing.
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File

Duterte won't bargain Philippine territory with China

SO...CHISMIS ITOH!? - Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - October 16, 2016 - 7:20pm
MANILA, Philippines — There will be no bargaining with China on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) issue, President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday even as he vowed to boost ties with the emerging superpower during his four-day state visit to Beijing.  
Duterte noted that the constitution does not allow him to give up the Philippines’ territorial claims.
“We will stick to our claim. We do not bargain anything. We will continue to insist what is ours,” the president told reporters at the Davao International Airport before leaving for Brunei for a three-day visit.
“I will be very careful not to bargain anything for after all, I cannot give what is not mine and which I am not empowered to do by any stretch of imagination,” he added.
Duterte said the arbitral tribunal ruling that favored the Philippines would be discussed during his state visit to China but there would be “no hard impositions.” The president will proceed to China after his visit to Brunei.  
“When you go there, you want to talk. Remember there are only two options, we go to trouble or we talk. We can choose the path there in between,” Duterte said.
“The (international tribunal) decision will be taken up but there will be no hard impositions. We will talk, we will maybe paraphrase everything in the judgment and set the limits of our territories, the special economic zones,” he added.
Last July, a Hague-based arbitral court voided China’s nine-dash line claim, which covers about 90 percent of the South China Sea including areas also being claimed by the Vietnam, Malaysia. Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines.
The tribunal ruled that the Philippines has sovereign rights over the Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, and Recto (Reed) Bank, areas off Palawan that are within China’s nine-dash line.
The court said China had also violated its duty to respect the traditional fishing rights of Filipinos when it denied them access to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in 2012. The shoal is located 124 nautical miles from the nearest point in Zambales and is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. 
China refuses to recognize the ruling, which it has described as “illegal since day one.”
Last week, Duterte said he would not dwell on the Philippines’ claim to the Panatag Shoal during his visit to China but would ask Chinese leaders to allow Filipino fishermen to enter the area.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, a member of the team that challenged China’s expansive maritime claim before the international tribunal, said Duterte may be impeached if he gives up the Philippines’ sovereignty of the shoal.
Duterte said he agrees with Carpio’s statement. 
“It's an impeachable offense. I won’t fight with that statement. It's all correct. It’s all legal. So I agree with him,” he said.  
“I said we cannot barter (something which is not mine), something that belongs to the Filipino people. I cannot be the sole authorized agent for that. It is not allowed under the constitution.”

Duterte: We will start with the arbitral court ruling

In an interview with television station Al Jazeera, Duterte said talks with China should start with the arbitral ruling.
“Nobody is going to give up the judgment that is in our favor. I cannot give it up. Nobody can give it up nobody in the constitution allows anybody to give it up. Even the president cannot give it up,” the Philippine leader said.
“I cannot go out beyond the boundaries of this paper. Let’s talk. Let’s begin here,” he added, referring the arbitral court’s decision.
Duterte said giving up the Philippines’ maritime claims is “one sure way of going to impeachment.”
The president stressed that he would not go to war with China over the maritime dispute.
“What do you think will happen to my country if I choose to go to war? Fight along? I would call upon other countries to help me? Who would die for my country except us? So we can only talk. That’s why the invited me for talks. I will go,” he said.
When asked to react to criticisms that he appears to be negotiating on weakness despite the Philippines’ victory in its case against China, Duterte replied: “It would be arrogant to go there and say I’m going there to fight for this and that.”
“You have to go there with a little bit of courtesy,” he added.

Stronger ties

The West Philippine Sea issue is not the only agenda of Duterte’s state visit to China.
The Philippine president said he is looking forward to exchanging views with Chinese leaders on how they can boost bilateral relations, trade and investments.
Duterte is scheduled to meet with China president Xi Jinping, China Premier Li Keqiang and National People's Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang during his state visit.
“This is the first state visit of a Philippine president to Beijing since 2011 and signals a key turning point in both our histories. We'll look forward to renewing our ties of friendship between the Philippines and China and to reaffirm the commitment to work closer to achieve shared goals for our countries and peoples,” he said in his departure speech.
“As we mark this year the 41st anniversary of the establishment of relations between China and the Philippines, we will look at the sum total of our relationships.”

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with