Monday, August 29, 2016

President Duterte Asked China to Treat Filipinos as Brothers on National Heroes Day

President Rodrigo Duterte National Heroes Day

President Rodrigo Duterte asked China to treat Filipinos as brothers not enemies as he promised to stand firm with the Philippine's position to resolve the territorial dispute through a peaceful means during his speach following a wreath-laying ceremony in observance of National Heroes Day, Monday, August 29, 2016 at the Heroes Cemetery in Taguig city.

Duterte said he is hoping China would consider the conditions of the poor Filipino fishermen who depend on the West Philippines Sea.

“And I know the dynamics inside China, it has been explained to me very well. But if we’ll not be. The Chinese people this time might find a place in their hearts for the Filipinos. After all, I come from... there’s a Chinese blood in me, so I hope that you treat us as your brothers, not your enemies and take note of the plight of our citizens,” said Duterte on Monday, August 29, to an audience that included Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua.

Duterte said he wanted to hold bilateral talks with China to avoid risk of the latter walking out of the negotiation.

Duterte promised not to bring up the controversial West Philippine Sea ruling (decision of the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in The Hague, the Netherlands) outside bilateral talks between Manila and Beijing. But he said that he will use the ruling once representatives of the countries are face to face in formal negotiations.

"I will not use the judgement, arbitral, now but I would one day sit in front of the representative or you and then I will lay it bare, my position. I would say that I could not get out of the 4 corners of this document and that is the arbitral judgement," Duterte said.

Zhao, in a chance interview with reporters, said he appreciated Duterte's appeal to preserve the friendship between Chinese and Filipinos.

"The Filipinos are always in the hearts of Chinese people. We have been friends, partners, even relatives, for a thousand years despite the troubles we have. We're confident the friendship will be deepened," said the Chinese diplomat.

Zhao repeated China's stance of not recognizing the Hague ruling but said the Chinese are looking forward to bilateral talks between the two countries.

"We cannot accept the arbitration award but we do look forward to talk to the Philippines bilaterally of the troubles we have," said Zhao.

As for letting Filipino fishermen fish in the West Philippine Sea, he said, "We'll look at the possibility of how we handle it. The details are not hammered out yet but we need to discuss with the Filipino side. I don't know the exact situation on the sea but we'll look at the possibilities."

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