PH values friendship with China 'more than anything else' - Duterte

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte, as chairperson of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2017, has the moral obligation to raise the regional bloc's concerns over the spat among claimants of resource-rich West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said on Saturday.

The Congressional report said that the United States should play a vital role in ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight for all countries by undertaking freedom of navigation operations on a regular and consistent basis, as well as maintaining persistent presence operations in the South China Sea.

Trump and Xi were in Da Nang, Vietnam, where they attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), an economic, trade and investment forum among 21 Pacific Rim countries, including the Philippines, the US, China and Russian Federation.

The South China Sea is a vitally important waterway for global commerce and for regional security, with nearly 30 per cent of the maritime trade of the world transiting the South China Sea annually. "I have to tell the truth that everybody is anxious", the President said.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming official visit to the Philippines and attendance at the leaders' meetings for East Asia cooperation will give a strong boost to China's neighborhood diplomacy, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said in a recently-published signed article. And I have to carry the voice of Asean.

"Ang sinagot ni President Xi ay nagkasundo na sa framework ng Code of Conduct at ipagpapatuloy ang usapin at inaasahan niyang matapos ito". Chinese President Xi Jinping's administration relies on a concept known as the nine-dash line to mark territorial claims, which extend roughly 1,000 miles from the nation's southern shores. I had every right to ask him.

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The ambassador said that Li's trip is an important move of multilateral diplomacy undertaken by a Chinese leader after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and also the first visit to the Philippines by a Chinese premier in 10 years. "They are not decorations", he noted. They are expected to start work on the code of conduct itself.

"And so the president came to know about this and he said: "Let's pull out". That happened despite contesting assertions of sovereignty from Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. China is claiming virtually the entire sea.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana acknowledged Wednesday that the military canceled construction of structures in a disputed area of the South China Sea after China complained about it.

The President has maintained to push for "soft-landing" approach to address the spat on the resource-rich waters despite winning a petition lodged before the worldwide court.

Since coming to office 16 months ago, the firebrand leader has been conciliatory to Beijing, despite a ruling by an worldwide arbitration court favoring the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China.

Next week, leaders from Asean and its dialogue partners Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, India, China, Russia, and the USA will gather for meetings on key issues such as terrorism, maritime security and human rights.

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