MANILA – Despite being tagged by President Rodrigo Duterte as one of the top sources of illegal drugs in the Philippines, China has agreed to help the Filipino leader’s war on drugs.
China said it understands and supports the Philippines’ fight against illegal drugs, and that it is willing to share resources and intelligence information with Manila.
“China understands and supports Philippine Government’s efforts in fighting against illicit drugs. Realizing that the problem of illicit drugs poses severe threats to the health, safety and welfare of the peoples of both countries, both sides agree to enhance exchange of intelligence, know-how and technology sharing on fighting against drug crimes, preventive education and rehabilitation facilities,” the two countries said in a joint statement.
Duterte ended his state visit in China today, a trip considered by no less than Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “milestone” in the two countries’ relations following years of animosity over the South China Sea.
Duterte’s pivot to China is a major development in Philippine foreign policy, which has been traditionally leaned towards the United States, China’s strategic rival.
Following US concerns over his administration’s war on drugs, Duterte said yesterday in China that he will “separate” from the US.
Duterte earlier said that unlike the US, China has been helpful and “never criticized” his war on drugs.
The joint statement added that the two countries have agreed to establish an operation mechanism for joint investigation on special cases and intelligence collection purposes.
“The Philippines thanks China for its offer of assistance in personnel training and donation of drug detection, seizure, and testing equipment to aid in the fight against illicit drugs,” the joint statement read.