Philippines' Duterte leaves for 4-day visit to Russian Federation

"I really said it to their face: that is ours and we intend to drill oil there", said Duterte, who said he made the comments public in response to domestic criticism he was being too weak with China over the maritime dispute.

INSTEAD of getting hysterical and agitated over President Xi Jinping's alleged threat of war against the Philippines, it is more sensible to verify with the Chinese government or Xi Jinping whether China is indeed threatening war against the Philippines over our conflicting claims to parts of the South China Sea or the West Philippine Sea.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said their meeting was frank and friendly, and the discussion was largely about preventing conflict, not threatening it.

Cayetano, who claimed to have been present at the meeting, said he couldn't divulge the exact conversation between the two leaders but claimed it was meant to "increase mutual trust and respect". "But if you force the issue we'll go to war'".

Since assuming the presidency Duterte has sought to build strong alliances with China and Russian Federation while moving away from the United States, the philippines' former colonial ruler and most important military ally. I am just telling interpretation: There was no bullying or pushing around. "It was not a threat".

China sought to "deepen cooperation in other fields so bilateral relations can move forward in a sound steady way and also contribute to regional peace stability", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

China was willing to work with the Philippines to handle disputes peacefully, she told reporters.

Duterte has been forging stronger ties with such non-traditional partners as Russian Federation and China as part of an effort to shift the country's foreign policy away from long-time ally, the USA, which has criticized his anti-drug campaign, which has left thousands dead.

An worldwide court ruled last July that China had no historic rights to resources in waters claimed by the Philippines in a case brought by Duterte's predecessor Benigno Aquino.

Duterte's rivals have likened his refusal to insist that China abide by the ruling as akin to surrendering sovereignty.

Duterte has also sought closer ties with China to win billions of dollars of Chinese investments and loans, while loosening the Philippines' long-standing alliance with the United States.

"The Russians are with me, I shall not be afraid", Duterte said while touring the Russian Navy's guided missile cruiser Varyag during a port visit to Manila last month.

According to Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the Philippines can run to the UN tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to protect Philippine territory.

"With its geographic footprint in the Asia-Pacific region and its strategic interests in the region, a positive engagement is required to find areas of synergies in interests", Duterte said in a statement at the Davao International Airport prior to his departure.

  • Leroy Wright