Duterte calls for calm in the deadlock of Chinese boats | The Lawyer – Hepburn

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has pledged to peacefully resolve a diplomatic row with China over the disputed South China Sea, his spokesman said, in a measured response after days of loud reprimands from his ministers and generals.

The continued presence inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone of hundreds of Chinese ships which it says are occupied by militias has frustrated Manila and raised concern among the US ally, among others.

“We will continue to resolve Julian Felipe’s problems through diplomatic and peaceful means,” said a statement from Duterte read by his spokesman Harry Roque on Tuesday.

China argued that Whitsun Reef, known as Julian Felipe Reef in the Philippines, was a traditional fishing spot where its vessels sought shelter from inclement weather.

The weakening of the Philippine response comes a day after its foreign ministry said it would protest daily if China refuses to remove ships that “flagrantly violate” the sovereign rights of the Philippines. Duterte’s legal adviser warned of “unwanted hostilities”.

Defying public opinion, Duterte sought to build an alliance with China and was reluctant to confront its rulers, having been promised billions of dollars in loans and investments, much of which did not materialize. still materialized.

He repeatedly said that the Philippines was powerless to prevent China from occupying territories and that questioning its activities would risk provoking a war that his country would lose.

In Duterte’s statement, he said the differences in the South China Sea would not be an obstacle to friendly relations and cooperation in the response to the pandemic, including vaccines and economic recovery.

The Philippines has one of the worst COVID-19 epidemics in Asia, but has struggled to obtain vaccines.

It bought 25 million doses of vaccines from Chinese Sinovac.

Australian Associated Press

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