Incoming president Rodrigo Duterte hinted that Chinese relations would improve now that he plans to not rely on the United States for long-term security.
Philippine-China relations have soured tremendously during President Aquino’s terms, whose administration sued the super country over its claims on all of South China Sea, which included waters within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
Xinhua, China’s official news agency, reported that Chinese president Xi Jinping hoped that both parties would ‘get bilateral relations back on track of sound development’, now that a new head of state would take on the ongoing territorial dispute with China over the South China Sea.
Despite his willingness to engage in bilateral talks with China, Duterte also emphasized that he would not be fully reliant on the United States, which has been the country’s longtime security ally.
“We will be chartering a course of our own. It will not be dependent on America, and it will be a line not intended to please anybody but the Filipino interest,” he said.
On Wednesday, June 1, China accepted the incoming government’s proposal for bilateral talks.
Duterte also expressed plans of having multilateral talks to settle the dispute over South China Sea, including countries such as the United States, Japan, Australia and other claimants such as Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.
He is still waiting for the UN court’s ruling on the Philippine arbitration case, since it would lead him to his next possible course of action with his Cabinet members. However, he admits that he is not ready for war, as this will only make the situation worse than it is.
Duterte’s plans might be a threat to the United States as it tries to keep its influence in select regions of Asia that China wants to dominate.
It is already known that there have been in an increase in US troops in Philippine military bases, posing as a challenge to China’s claims on South China Sea.
The United States has also been strengthening its ties with other Asian countries, aside from the Philippines, in territorial dispute with China such as Japan and Vietnam.