MANILA (UPDATE) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he was disappointed that Chinese leader Xi Jinping refused to heed Manila’s arbitral victory that invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claims over the West Philippine Sea.
The Xi government does not recognize the Philippines’ 2016 arbitral victory, maintaining it would not “budge,” a response that displeased Duterte.
“I am not satisfied with your answer, but I will not ask for any other answer. I will just remain where I am, where I started considering that you are under stress by the incidents in Hong Kong,” Duterte recalled telling the Chinese leader.
Duterte said Xi could have been in a bad mood during their meeting last week given the protests in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China.
“I-timing mo. The art of diplomacy ay yung palaro-laro ka,” he said.
(It’s about finding the proper timing, using the art of diplomacy.)
The Philippines in 2016 won a case at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which invalidated China’s claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.
However, China doesn’t recognize the ruling and has instead ramped up its militarization efforts in the vital waterway.
Malacañang earlier said that peaceful dialogue and negotiations between both countries on the territorial dispute will still continue despite the impasse, noting the “centuries-old familial ties” of China and the Philippines.
Asked what his plans are following China’s rejection of the arbitral ruling, Duterte said: “Quo vadis, Philippines?” (Where are you going, Philippines?)
The President said the Philippines needs to stop the “foolishness” of opposing China and decide if Filipinos are ready to go to war should the country decide to claim its territories.
“Your question is as good as mine. Ano ang gawin natin (what will we do)?” Duterte said.