MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte committed his voice on Tuesday (April 6), following days of severe reproaches by his ministers and generals, to the peacefully settling of a diplomatic row with China on the controversial South China Seas.
Manila has been disillusioned by the constant presence, among others, of hundreds of Chinese ships within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines that it believes are militia-powered.“We will continue to resolve the issues on Julian Felipe through diplomatic channels and through peaceful means,” said a statement from Duterte read by his spokesman Harry Roque.The Chinese maintain that Julian Felipe Reef is a traditional field for fishing, known in the Philippines as the Julian Reef. Their ships are looking for protection from harmful weather.
The Embassy of China in Manila on Thursday did not respond immediately to an application for comments.
One day after its foreign ministry said it would protest daily if China refused to remove boats which “blatantly violate” Philippine sovereign rights, the reaction from the Philippines is slowing down.The legal counsel of Duterte warned of “unwelcome hostilities.”
Duterte, who defies public opinion, tried to build an alliance with China and hesitated to confront its leadership with the trillions of dollars of loans and investments that have not yet come into being.
He has said on numerous occasions that the Philippines could stop China and that challenging their activities might lead to war in his country.Duterte stated, in his statement, that differences in the sea in South China would not stand in the way of friendly relations and pandemic cooperation, including vaccines and economic recovery.
One of the worst outbreaks in Asia for Cov-19 in the Philippines, however, it is difficult to secure vaccine.
It has purchased a total of 25 million doses of Chinese Sinovac vaccines, and the largest number in its vaccine inventory has been two million shots.