Duterte hopes China will honor promise not to build structures in disputed waters Featured

Duterte hopes China will honor promise not to build structures in disputed waters

President Rodrigo Duterte is holding on to China’s promise to him that it would not build structures in disputed maritime areas in the West Philippine Sea.
“China has put it on record that near the Pag-asa, where we also have our bay there, the Scarborough Islands [sic], China has committed to us not to build anything there and I hope that they would honor that commitment to us,” he said in a press conference following his arrival in Davao City from a two-day official visit to Japan late Tuesday night.
“I hope and I pray. I do not want to create something here, which is not good for us. For all us,” he added.
Duterte said that he has a plan in case China breaks its promise, but that in the meantime, the best move is to let the diplomats talk.
“I cannot imagine myself getting involved in a violent and almost a suicide action. We are—you can read all the legal treaties there claiming this and claiming that,” he said.
“But the problem, I said, is I do not want to criticize the big powers now because it was really of their own making,” he added.
The President also said that for his part, his commitments made on behalf of a sovereign state were commitments with honor.
“Anything less than that, you lost the respect of… They probably would not have the time to—or anybody inviting us for a talk and about, discuss giving aid and assistance to the country,” he said.
In August, Duterte said that China told him they were not building anything on Sandy Cay, which was near the Philippine-controlled Pag-asa Island.
In February, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said that China promised the Philippines that it would not build structures on Scarborough Shoal.
In May, the Philippines and China launched the bilateral consultative mechanism on the sea row. — GMA News

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