- Duterte assuaged Japanese worries over PH shift to China
- He said his talk with the Chinese involved economics, not military alliances
- He also assured Japan of PH cooperation despite fraying ties with the US
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte sought to assuage Tokyo’s fears over the Philippines’ growing slant toward China, saying he merely engaged in talks involving economics with the Asian giant.
At forum of businessmen, Duterte said he did not bring up the prospects of a military alliance with China.
“I went to China for a visit and I would like to assure you that all there was was economics. We did not talk about arms, we did not talk about stationing of troops, we avoided talking about alliances, military or otherwise,” Rappler quoted him as saying. “What happened really, there was just a few platforms wherein investments could come in. You know, historically, we only have this short window in our dealings with China. With my visit, we hope that the window will come in a better light and bigger than usual so we can trade freely.”
Duterte also assured Tokyo that the Philippines will continue to cooperate with Japan amid his tirades against their common ally the United States.
“I give you my word today that we will not abandon Japan in our partnership and security matters given the common belief that our conflicts and problems with other nations must be resolved peacefully, in accordance with international law,” he said. “I would like to make it clear to everybody that we do not pick quarrels with our friends and neighbors, but to me, it is hightime that the President stands up to its dignity as a people.
Like the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea, Japan has its own territorial dispute with China over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands.