Economy

Duterte to push for sea code of conduct in meeting with Xi

Duterte to push for sea code of conduct in meeting with Xi

A party-list lawmaker on Thursday denounced the latest activities of China in the West Philippine Sea.

"Now, we are friends (with China)".

Duterte, as this year's Asean chair, said he believed there is nothing wrong in raising the regional bloc's concerns with China. I don't have to parry.

This comes as a map released recently by a Washington-based think tank showed the Philippines within range of Chinese warplanes and missiles being deployed to the South China Sea.

"I am chair of ASEAN and I have to carry the voice of the ASEAN [.] I have to tell the truth that everybody is anxious", Duterte said in a press briefing Thursday night after meeting with the Filipino community.

"I do not want to lose (the) friendship of China", he stressed. "China was there when we needed most their help", an apparent reference to a donation of guns and ammunition while government forces battled extremist gunmen in Marawi City.

"We tried to put some structures in one of the sandbars near our island and the Chinese reacted", Lorenzana told a diplomatic and security forum in Manila, adding that Duterte later ordered, "Let's pull out".

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In a report, released jointly by the Senate and House armed services, the lawmakers noted that the consistent exercise of freedom of navigation operations and overflights by U.S. naval and air forces throughout the world plays a critical role in safeguarding the freedom of the seas, supporting worldwide law, and ensuring the continued safe passage and promotion of global commerce and trade. The best way is to have a written code of conduct.

The president added that during the meeting with Xi, he would be frank and will assert the country's rights in discoursing over the maritime dispute.

He said the code of conduct is an immediate solution to the territorial disputes.

He said he will tell Mr Xi when he meets him on Saturday (Nov 11) that "the whole of Asean is anxious about how we should behave in the seas that are now militarised, afraid that there might be a mistake and there would be shooting".

Although the president pointed out that it not good to confront China over the nautical conflict, he said he wants those questions answered "for the sake of my country and the others who have overlapping claims".

The sandbars are likely "naturally occurring" and appear or disappear above high tide at certain periods, Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines' Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea told reporters.

Relations with China sank to historic lows under former president Benigno Aquino, as Manila pursued an aggressive approach to push back against China's expansion in the South China Sea.