By Alexis Romero
RIYADH – Saying he values the Philippines' friendship with China, President Duterte said on Thursday that he is no longer pushing through with his plan to go to Pag-asa Island in the South China Sea on Independence Day.
Duterte revealed that China had asked him not to celebrate Independence Day and raise the flag on Pag-asa Island, the largest among the Philippine-occupied areas in the disputed Spratlys chain.
"China said: ‘what will happen if every head of state will go there to (assert their) claim? They said if every head of state of contending parties there around the West Philippine Sea, they call it the (South) China Sea, will go there to plant the flag, there will likely be trouble," the president told members of the Filipino community here.
"So because of our friendship with China and because we value your friendship, I will not go there to raise the Philippine flag," he added.
Duterte did not say how China communicated its concerns to him.
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