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Duterte surprises Xi by discussing militarization in South China Sea. Here’s how their talk went

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President Rodrigo Duterte surprised Chinese President Xi Jinping by raising the ASEAN’s concerns about the growing militarization in the South China Sea in their bilateral talks.

Facing reporters upon his arrival from the APEC Summit in Vietnam Sunday (November 12), Duterte said he had to bring up the issue of militarization since he is the current chairman of ASEAN.

“I said he was quite surprised about my coming in very strong of my statement here about the conduct of the sea. I said, ‘I am not raising any sovereign issue. Do not worry,'” he said.

Duterte said Xi downplayed the military buildup in the South China Sea, saying it was “nothing.”

The Chinese President assured Duterte and other countries that they can safely pass through the disputed waters.

“He assured us again na, ‘Do not worry. You have all the rights of the safe passage,'” Duterte said.

The President said he believes Xi because going to war will not benefit China.

“He knows that if he goes to war, everything will blow up. He acknowledged that war cannot be promoted by anybody, but it would only mean destruction for all of us,” Duterte said.