Philippine Minister Starts Damage Control After Duterte’s China War Remark

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Cayetano’s hurriedly called news conference was meant to defend Duterte from being accused of not standing up to China when the latter told him in a meeting in Beijing that China would go to war if the Philippine side insists on drilling for oil in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Monday that the talks between Duterte and Xi had been about how to avoid conflict and there was no language or tone of disrespect.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the attempt of President Rodrigo Duterte to raise the issue of possible oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea had only caused alarm to the Chinese government.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday vowed to “correct” the country’s overdependence on traditional partners such as the U.S.as he embarked on a visit aimed at boosting ties with Russian Federation.

“There are already over 200 businessmen on the list, but I think this could reach 300”, Lopez told reporters. And then what? We’ll sit at the bargaining table and be like – I want this, and they say I want that.

Duterte also said that he did not want the U.S. troops in his country because he wanted Philippines to be treated with respect as a sovereign state.

China’s government on Monday 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”.

The Philippines, a former American colony, had been one of the United States’ key allies in the Asia-Pacific for decades. “I will not contradict the president’s words”.

And now Duterte has gone to Moscow upon the invitation of Putin, whom he met at the Apec meeting in Peru.

While he has repeatedly chastised European Union and US, Duterte has seemed to be soft-spoken when it comes to China and Russian Federation.

“Historically, I have been identified with the Western world”. But Duterte, a self-described socialist, has been determined to reduce the Philippines’ reliance on the United States and build much closer ties with China and Russian Federation.

“The Russians are with me, I shall not be afraid”, Duterte said while touring the Russian Navy’s guided missile cruiser Varyag during a port visit to Manila last month.

This week during the visit in Russia Duterte should receive an honorary doctorate from Moscow state Institute of worldwide relations (MGIMO), reports Asia One. Philippine-U.S. trade was worth more than $18 billion a year ago.

He said his official visit will lay a firm foundation for a robust and comprehensive mutually beneficial Philippine-Russia partnership with shared aspiration for sovereignty, equality, and pragmatism. Now, the vector of foreign policy is changed, Philippines cut the ties with the US and got a new ally, Russia.

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In that event, Natividad said the President is expected to articulate his administration’s commitment to pursue an independent foreign policy that is anchored foremost on national interest considerations.

Rodrigo Duterte center leaves a plane upon his arrival at government airport Vnukovo II just outside Moscow Russia late Monday

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