PH 'will not insist' South China Sea claims for now

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2016 06:27 PM

ISABELA -- Following his recent trip to China, President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said the Philippines will not wage war against China over its claims on the disputed South China Sea.

In a speech before typhoon "Lawin" victims in Isabela, Duterte said he "will not insist" for now the country's claims over South China Sea, despite the Hague Tribunal Court's ruling in favor of the Philippines.

“I will not insist now. I will not go to war now and waste the life of our soldiers,” he said.

Duterte said he mentioned the country’s rights to the disputed waters while Chinese officials insisted on maintaining their historic rights over the area.

“Alam ko may problema tayong dalawang bansa dahil diyan sa [South] China Sea na inangkin ninyong lahat, eh kami naman nanalo at sinabi sa Pilipinas talaga 'yan. Ang problema ang sabi niya, amin talaga ‘to (South China Sea) historically at hindi kami bibigay dito,” Duterte said as he recalled his visit to China last week.

(I know our countries have problems because of the South China Sea which you claimed all for yourselves but we won and they said that it belongs to the Philippines. The problem was they said the South China Sea was theirs historically and that they are not going to give it up.)

The President added that Chinese President Xi Jinping promised that they could resolve the matter peacefully.

“’Di ako makikipag-away kasi wala akong nakikitang magandang solusyon kung makikipagpatayan. Sabi niya, we can resolve this case peacefully, walang away, walang dugo but it will take time,” Duterte said.

(I will not fight with them because I don’t see a good solution if we are going to kill each other. He said we can resolve this case peacefully, no fighting, no blood, but it will take time.)

Upon his arrival from China last Friday, Duterte said China and the Philippines have agreed to pursue peaceful negotiations in settling the South China Sea Dispute.

He did not, however, mention the Hague tribunal ruling which sided with the Philippines.