- President defended his administration’s non-aggressive approach in sea row
- He said policy yielded lesser friction, more cooperation among claimants
- He also said more talks and trade, not war with China needed
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte defended his administration’s non-confrontational approach with China over the South China Sea issue; saying his policy has lessened the friction and increased the cooperation among the claimants.
“The South China Sea is one but we are not in a hurry. And as a matter of fact, what we did was really the correct step and to avoid a confrontational talks with almost all of the parties concerned, just ask for a limited time to solve the problem and sharing of the resources if it could be done,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying.
Duterte said the key to solving the dispute lies in the respect each country should show to one another with regards to their claims in the South China Sea.
“For after all, it does not mean to say that if it is our economic, our fishpond, our private – there’s no such thing, as you can claim the international waters as your own. The economic zones provided are good and our consensus and concessions that are part of the respect for each other’s interest,” he said.
As for China, Duterte said the Philippines —rather than seeking war— should instead look to more talks and trade with its giant neighbor.
“China has stood pat on its decision. We need not go to war for that. It’s not good to add something which is already a very high-tension existing in Asia itself,” he said. “I wish more talks to come, and trade.”