President Rodrigo Duterte doused cold water on critics speculating a sell-out of Philippines sovereignty during his state visit in Beijing, China where he is expected to discuss issue on the West Philippine Sea with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang this week.
“We do not bargain anything though. We continue to insist that it’s ours and that the Tribunal, the international decision will be taken up and, but there will be no hard impositions,” Duterte told reports in a press briefing shortly before his departure Sunday afternoon at Davao International Airport.
He also agreed to Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, who said a President can be impeached if he bargains with Philippines sovereignty.
“In all my dealings, I will remain true to the Constitutional mandate reposed on me to pursue an independent foreign policy and to uphold the national interests of the Philippines,” he said.
The President remains strongly committed to stick to the country’s claim on West Philippine Sea dismissing speculations on how he would deal with China on matters of the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.
“We will talk and we will, maybe paraphrase everything in the judgment and set the limits of our territories, the special economic zones. It will be— no bargaining there. It is ours and many of you are just—one thing to ask the question. That is it,” he said.
Duterte further emphasized there is no bargaining of the Philippines territories whether within the turf or to the 200. “It will remain a special concern and I will be very careful not to bargain anything for after all I cannot give what is not mine and which I am not empowered to do by any sketch of imagination,” he added.
He stressed that there will be no hard impositions because it is a matter of international committee when you go there. “We only want to talk. And remember, there are only two options: we go to trouble or we talk. We can choose to pass there in between,” he said.
Before the China visit, Duterte flies first to Brunei to meet His Majesty Sultan Haji Bolkiah in Brunei Darussalam but talks will tackle on enhancing special relations between the two countries.
“We will discuss of further enhancing the special ties and reaffirm the enduring relations between our two countries and peoples. I will seek to foster closer cooperation, especially within the context of ASEAN,” he said.
Among the priorities will be intensifying two-way trade and investments. Developing the Halal sector and MSMEs, strengthen joint resolve at securing just and lasting peace in Mindanao along with the growth and development
Duterte’s visit to Brunei Darussalam will intensify two-way trade and investments between the two countries such as developing the Halal sector and benefits of the MSMEs.
“Brunei has been a steadfast partner for peace. As the Philippines enters into important phases in our peace talks, Brunei will continue to play an important role,” he said.
In the area of defense and security cooperation, Duterte will seek collaborative undertakings in the sharing of expertise on maritime security issues as well as in capacity building. He said he will also seek closer collaboration and mutual support in his campaign against illegal drugs, an important step towards attaining the common goal of realizing an ASEAN drug-free community.
Duterte will also meet with the Filipino community. Ayan C. Mellejor and Maya Padillo