By ayan c. mellejor
President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed he and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping have agreed to hold talks on the arbitral ruling and other related issues on the Philippines claim of the West Philippine Seas when the right time comes.
“We decided that there’s a time to raise (it). There is a time for me to ask about the arbitral ruling but it is not now,” Duterte said at a press conference upon his arrival at the Davao International Airport from his official visits in Cambodia, Hong Kong and Beijing in China on Friday morning..
Duterte said he and President Xi had the chance to talk about the matter shortly before boarding the plane on his flight to Davao.
He said there is a need to go into the mechanics, set an agenda and the process to present the case to them (China) first.
“We agreed to talk, to have a dialogue,” Duterte said but without elaborating his talk with President Xi.
Duterte has been adamant in raising the issue on West Philippine Sea especially now that friendly relations and cooperation has strengthened between the Philippines and China. His position, he earlier said, does not indicate fear of China but keeping peace in the disputed area which could be a potential flashpoint.
He assured to discuss the Arbitral ruling with China when he would face the Chinese counterpart in a bilateral talk.
Duterte said, “There will be a time that we have to talk about its implementation. You cannot avoid it. But it is not now. It is not the right time to do it.”
“We avoid violence and we avoid war because frankly we cannot afford it and China cannot afford it also at this time. Masisira tayong dalawa,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Duterte was looking forward to the inaugural meeting of the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea later this month.
“This is one step forward in peacefully managing disputes,” he said.