24 May 2017

News Story: China sidesteps war threat

Alan: China didn’t bully Philippines

BEIJING – China yesterday sidestepped the disclosure of President Duterte that it had threatened to go to war over the disputed South China Sea.

In Manila, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the administration felt no need to file a protest against China as there was no bullying by Chinese President Xi Jinping of President Duterte during their meeting in Beijing last week. Also at the meeting was Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

“My interpretation of the meeting is that there was no bullying or pushing around,” Cayetano said.

Some senators as well as Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio have suggested that the Philippines raise Xi’s threat before the United Nations or file a strong protest against China.

“I really said it to their face: that is ours and we intend to drill oil there,” said Duterte, who said he made the comments public in response to domestic criticism he was being too weak with China over the maritime dispute.

“And they told me: ‘Well, we’re friends. We do not want to quarrel with you. We want to maintain the present warm relationship. But if you force the issue we’ll go to war.’ ”

Beijing yesterday did not directly comment on Duterte’s version of the leaders’ conversation, but said it would “work with the Philippines to peacefully resolve disputes through friendly consultation.”

China sought to “deepen cooperation in other fields so bilateral relations can move forward in a sound steady way and also contribute to regional peace stability,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters.

Read the full story at PhilStar