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Duterte silent on Chinese incursions in West PH Sea at ASEAN-China summit

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By Prince Golez

Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte did not raise China’s incursions into the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and the ruling of an arbitral tribunal favoring Manila over Beijing during the ASEAN-China Summit with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Sunday.

Speaking to reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte did not ask China to explain its ongoing activities in the disputed waters.

“What he said was the usual policy that the President has been saying all along, that every country must be rules-based. Meaning, we will have to respect international law, we’ll have to respect the UNCLOS,” according to him.

“We cannot be forcing others to succumb to another country’s power. in other words, we should be treating each other equally and fairly,” he added.

Asked about Li’s reaction to the call of Duterte to exercise self-restraint in the WPS, Panelo said: “Well, I think the Chinese premiere is in accord. He gives the same rules-based recognition of the international law.”

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