“That’s the call of the President, whatever he wants to bring up with President Xi,” Panelo said when asked if the President would call the attention of the Chinese leader to Chinese warships’ clandestinely sailing in Philippine waters.
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‘Up to Duterte to discuss Chinese incursions with Xi’
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - August 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — While Chinese warships’ incursions into Philippine waters have now become irritating to the defense department, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said it’s up to President Duterte to bring the matter to Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Beijing late this month.

“That’s the call of the President, whatever he wants to bring up with President Xi,” Panelo said when asked if the President would call the attention of the Chinese leader to Chinese warships’ clandestinely sailing in Philippine waters.

Panelo said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had a reason to complain that the issue had become an “irritant.”

“But I supposed, taking that up would be also important because as Mr. Lorenzana said, the Secretary of National Defense, the incident has been repeatedly done, and therefore, it is becoming an irritant,” he said.

Panelo said he finds it troubling that the Chinese ships had to pass through Philippine waters when they could have used another route.

“We have to know exactly why they are passing through the strait when the shortest route going back to China can be done on a different route so we want to know really, bakit ba doon dumaan,” he said.

Unlike during the previous administration, Panelo noted that the bilateral relations between Manila and Beijing remain strong. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe

CHINA XI JINPING
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