Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte talked to United States President Barack Obama on Tuesday night, May 17, 2016, regarding the status of the South China Sea dispute.
During the 5-minute telephone conversation initiated by Obama at 11:15 p.m. to congratulate Duterte on his successful presidential bid, the Davao City mayor said he is hoping for a favorable result of the case filed by the Philippine government before the United Nations arbitral tribunal. Obama urged him to wait for the result of the arbitration.
The conversation of historical record was confirmed by Duterte’s Executive Assistant Christopher Lawrence Go, who described it as “a brief overseas call from the U.S. president,” according to Philippine Canadian Inquirer. On taking Obama’s call, Duterte said the following.
“I am very much honored Mr. President.”
Go said the mood of the conversation was relaxed with both leaders laughing at times.
According to Inquisitr, Duterte released a foreign policy statement to the press at the height of his campaign in April. It included the protocol he would follow as a president for peace in dealing with the South China Sea situation. Firstly, he would continue the Philippines’ appeal for arbitration with the United Nations. Secondly, he would willingly engage China in bilateral negotiations. Thirdly, if everything else fails to resolve the issue, he would take more assertive action to defend the sovereignty of the Philippines.
By the tone of what Duterte said to Obama, the Philippine president-elect is holding true to the foreign policy statement he made in the heat of his campaign. A GMA News report confirmed that during his conversation with Obama, Duterte reiterated his willingness to have bilateral talks with China over the South China Sea dispute if current efforts to resolve it fail to prosper.
Duterte explained to reporters that during the historic phone conversation Tuesday night, Obama received an assurance of the Philippines’ alliance with the U.S. regarding disputes in the South China Sea.
Duterte also told the press that he is interested to know why the Scarborough Shoal was lost to China during rising tensions in 2012. For answers, pundits are now referring back to an old assertion by former National Security Adviser Jose T. Almonte pondering “could haves” and “would haves” long before the South China Sea became a matter of urgent concern for Obama.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/3121614/duterte-to-obama-in-historic-phone-chat-hoping-for-favorable-u-n-arbitration-on-south-china-sea/#pJBmLFowxFyOXaRZ.99