MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday China wants the Philippines to ignore its legal victory in the South China Sea to push through with the joint oil and gas exploration deal in the disputed waters.
"Set aside your claim... They want to explore and if there is something, sabi nila, 'We would be gracious enough to give you 60 percent.' Forty [percent] lang ang kanila. That is the promise of Xi Jinping," he told reporters.
Duterte said he is amenable to the Chinese leader's request.
"Kasi ‘yang exclusive economic zone is part of the arbitral ruling, which we will ignore to come up with an economic activity," he said.
In his last visit to Beijing, Duterte raised the landmark ruling that invalidated China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea, which Xi refused to recognize.
During the interview, the president slammed former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario anew over the maritime dispute.
“Ito si Del Rosario, ano pa ba ang gusto mo Del Rosario? Na ikaw ang nag-retreat. Ikaw ang pinakag***** nakita kong Pilipino," he said.
It was during Del Rosario's time as top Philippine diplomat that the country brought China before a United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal in 2013 for incursions in the country's exclusive economic zone within the disputed South China Sea.
The tribunal, based in The Hague, invalidated China's 9-dash line claim over the waters and recognized traditional fishing rights of Filipinos in the Scarborough Shoal, an area where Beijing's patrol ships had shooed away Philippine fishermen.—With reports from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News
Rodrigo Duterte, Xi Jinping, China, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea, Hague ruling, joint exploration, gas, oil