Duterte recalls talk with China’s Xi: Oil exploration in WPS could mean ‘trouble’
Marje Pelayo • June 28, 2019 • 2681
MANILA, Philippines —President Rodrigo Duterte revealed what Chinese President Xi Jinping warned him of during their first meeting in 2016 about oil explorations in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.
Duterte said he was warned by the Chinese president that if the Philippines would attempt to proceed with the oil explorations in the disputed territory, it could mean ‘trouble’.
“Sabi ko, (I told him) ‘I’m going there to dig oil.’ Sabi ni Xi Jinping, (Xi Jinping said) in a whisper: ‘Alam mo Mayor Duterte (You know Mayor Duterte), we just restored our friendship. It was not good for a number of years pero huwag na muna tayo pag-usapan (But let us not talk about it for now),‘ sabi niya (Xi). ‘Let’s talk about helping each other, trade, commerce, investments, China can help.’ Doon na nagstart, (That’s when it all started),” President Duterte said, recalling his conversation with President Xi.
Duterte said that when he again mentioned about South China Sea oil exploration to Xi because the area is “ours”, the Chinese president supposedly replied: “No, that could mean trouble.”
The President made such clarifications to counter critics who question his stance of not sending military back up to the area.
“Kayong mga ugok, ang alam niyo kayo lang ang bright, ul*l, ‘pag lumabas ‘yung… (You fools, you think you’re the only smart ones. He (Xi) said,“that is trouble,” ano’ng ibig sabihin niyan (what else could it mean), from the mouth of President (Xi),” the President said.
The Chief Executive has been consistent in his position that the Philippines cannot afford to wage war against China.
His comments came after the incident in Recto Bank where 22 Filipino fishermen engaged in an alleged allision with Chinese crewmen earlier this month.
The fishermen called on the government to bar Chinese fishing in Recto Bank which is part of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
President Duterte said sorry to the fishermen but the incident, he said, was just a ‘little’ maritime incident and was not a reason for military exercise.
Also, the President insisted that he is not barring Chinese fishermen from fishing in the area “for friendship’s sake”.
“I don’t think that China would do that. Why? Because we’re friends. And they are of the same view that that should not result in any bloody confrontation,” the President told reporters on June 26.
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang confirmed Friday that the Philippines has started the process of terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to end the deal if it does not reverse the cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s visa.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president issued the termination order Thursday night despite giving a month for the US to restore the senator’s visa.
Panelo said the order has already been relayed to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. as well as Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.
“I just talked with Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin, and he said that he will start with the process and he called up already the vice chair and they talked, and Ambassador Romualdez has already been informed, I was also talking to him earlier,” he said.
In a tweet on Friday, Locsin confirmed he and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana have taken the first step in ending the 1998 deal with the US government.
Locsin sits as the chairperson of the Commission on Visiting Forces while Lorenzana serves as vice chairman.
“Del Lorenzana and I- as Vice and Chair of USVFA – are starting the process of terminating it by first contacting the Senate because it is a treaty on our side, an executive agreement on the US side. I’m leaving for Washington on a totally unrelated matter,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
Lorenzana, for his part, refrained from commenting into Duterte’s latest pronouncement.
“Will study it first,” he said in a message to reporters. “No comment muna. Too soon to comment.”
The VFA is a bilateral accord between Washington and Manila that came into force in 1999. It outlines the guidelines about the treatment of their troops when visiting the US or the Philippines. It includes provisions on visa and passport policies for US troops and the American government’s right to retain jurisdiction over its personnel, among others.
The deal may be terminated by either of the two countries by writing to the other party signifying their intent to end the agreement. Its expiration will come 180 days from the date of notification. – RRD (with details from Correspondents Rosalie Coz & Lea Ylagan)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he has decided to reject the invitation of United States President Donald Trump to attend the US-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit to be held in Las Vegas this March.
Duterte announced his decision during an interview with Russian International Television Network RT.
“I just received an invitation to go to the United States together with the ASEAN leaders. I haven’t been to the States. I was invited by [former US President Barack] Obama a while back. But I did not go,” he said in a video posted on Thursday.
When asked if he will attend the upcoming summit between the US and ASEAN, Duterte replied with: “No, no.”
During the interview, the president recalled the time when Obama criticized him and his campaign against illegal drugs.
“One time when I was being criticized by Obama in a press conference, he should have realized that I’m also the head of a sovereign state. He should have criticized me in the proper venue,” he said, referring to a September 2016 press conference where Obama urged Duterte to conduct his campaign “the right way.”
The president said Obama’s move to castigate him in a press briefing got him “so mad” and prompted him to curse the former president.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said that the chief executive is “still pondering” on whether he would accept Trump’s invitation as he is mindful of the possibility of getting barred from entering the US since he doesn’t have a visa, and making some American senators “unhappy” seeing him there. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte can terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the United States (US) even without the concurrence of the Senate, Malacañang said on Friday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after the president threatened to scrap the VFA if the US government does not reverse the cancellation of Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s visa.
“Because it (VFA) is an executive agreement so he can cancel it without the approval of the Senate,” Panelo said.
Dela Rosa on Wednesday confirmed to media that he is not allowed to travel to the US for now after he received notification about his visa cancellation.
The senator said the exact reason on why his US visa was cancelled remains unclear but he heard reports it might be linked to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs that he spearheaded when he was the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) from 2016 to 2018.
The VFA, signed by Manila and Washington in 1998, is a bilateral deal which outlines the guidelines for the conduct of government troops when they are visiting the US or the Philippines.
Panelo said the US government should not intervene with the Philippines’ internal issues.
The Palace official also believes the president’s threat to cancel the VFA will not affect Filipino workers in the US. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
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