Philippine leader open to war games with China, Russia

Philippine leader open to war games with China, Russia

Philippine leader open to war games with China, Russia

There is no sense in going to war over the disputed South China Sea as talks are far better, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told China's official Xinhua news agency, praising China for not criticising his country, unlike Western nations.

"China's door has always been open to the Philippines, and I think you've also noticed that President Duterte has many times said he wants dialogue with China", she added. Relations between China and the Philippines have been strained following an global court's ruling in July in Manila's favor, rejecting Beijing's claims to large parts of the South China Sea.

Duterte also compared the deaths of innocent people in the Philippines with those civilians who are killed during airstrikes on militants by United States attacks in wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan.

Speaking of the two countries' economic and trade cooperation, Duterte said that since his country is abundant in tourism, mineral and agricultural resources, and China boasts a huge lucrative market, the two neighbors enjoy high complementarity and considerable potential for further cooperation.

Malacanang however appeared to soften its stance this week and said police should only shoot suspects to disable them.

"This is a matter of global comity when you go there, we only want to talk".

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he is open to joint military exercises with China and Russian Federation, and reiterated he will no longer allow war games with the United States.

Duterte has already sent the 88-year-old former Philippine President Fidel Ramos as a special envoy to China on a confidence-building mission, and plans an October visit himself. "In all my dealings, I will remain true to the constitutional mandate reposed on me to pursue and independent foreign policy and to uphold the national interest of the Philippines" (see other story), he said.

Undoubtedly the most prominent issue concerning China-Philippines relations is the Hague's ruling in July that China violated the Philippines' sovereignty rights in the South China Sea.

He added that rapid development is hard to accomplish for any country without railways, saying he hopes China could offer soft loans. While the South China Sea dispute between the two countries appears to be firmly on the agenda, the Philippine president will be accompanied by a 200-strong delegation of business leaders.

"It's only China (that) can help us".

In a press briefing, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told reporters that the closed-door meeting between Duterte and Sultan Bolkiah held at the Istana Nurul Iman took about 30 minutes.

Mr Duterte said the deaths of children and innocent people would be investigated but said there was "no criminal liability" for security forces who kill innocent bystanders in operations, comparing them to the US-led coalition's bombing of Isis territory.

"We continue to insist what is ours, and the tribunal worldwide decision will be taken up".

"Nobody until I became President, nobody realized how widespread [the drug problems are]", Duterte said.

The President left for state visits in Brunei and China.

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