Not even China can stop President Rodrigo Duterte from bringing up the Philippines’ arbitral win to Chinese President Xi Jinping when they meet in Beijing later this month, Duterte said Wednesday.
Duterte made the statement as he revealed there are people preventing him from talking about the ruling of the 2016 UN arbitral ruling to Xi, whose administration invalidated China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.
In a speech, Duterte insisted bringing up the ruling, or not push through with the talks at all.
“Sabi nila hindi pag-usapan, sabi ko no. If I’m not allowed as a president of a sovereign nation to talk whatever I want to talk about then let us not rather talk altogether. ’Wag na. Do not control my mouth because that is a gift from God,” Duterte said during an inauguration of an energy plant in Romblon.
“So whether you like it or not, it will make you (China) happy or not, angry or otherwise, I’m sorry. But we have to talk about the arbitral ruling.”
Duterte is hopeful his talks with Xi would bring a peaceful resolution to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea. This, as Duterte again insisted the Philippines could not afford to go to war against China.
“The first thing I will bring up before there is the arbitral ruling. Ganito ‘yan. So we do not go to war. Hindi naman talaga tayo pwede makipag-giyera sa kanila. I will just my feed my army and the military and the police to the mouths of hell. Mamamatay lahat ‘yan. At this time,” the President said.
“Pero sabihin ko sa kanila na, you’ve always been saying we do not have to go to war, we do not have to go to trouble, and let us resolve this controversy peacefully.”
Duterte said he plans to pursue the 60-40 percent agreement in the joint oil and mineral exploration in the South China Sea in favor of the Philippines in his upcoming talks with Xi.
“Any other adventures or expeditions in the marine oceans in our exclusive economic zones will have a direct bearing in that Arbitral Ruling. Hindi ako papayag na TY (thank you) ‘yan,” Duterte said.
Duterte is set to fly to Beijing on August 28. Aside from his landmark meeting with Xi, the President will also watch the Philippines national basketball team play at the FIBA World Cup.
He will also attend the inauguration of a school building named after her mother Soledad at a Chinese university.