MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte should not "sell the country" when his government negotiates with China after an international court upheld the Philippines' right to exploit resources in disputed waters, experts said Wednesday.
Philippines beats China in international court
The diplomatic wrangling that would follow the landmark ruling of the Hague-based court would be like a high-stakes game of poker, with Duterte holding the winning hand, former senator and foreign relations committee chairman Leticia Ramos-Shahani said.
"The decision of the arbitration court is the ace in his hand," Shahani told a media roundtable.
Shahani said Duterte should be surrounded by the "right advisers." She also suggested appointing an ambassador to Beijing who speaks "perfect Chinese."
"You might be selling your country down the river and you won't know that you're doing it," she said.
Beijing might offer additional investments to Manila during the negotiations, De La Salle University political science professor Richard Javad Heydarian said during the same forum.
"China will offer him a lot of carrots. He should stick to the game plan. Not relax our claim just because they're investing a lot. Duterte has to be careful not to fall into that trap," he said.
Duterte urged to be wary on China talks