President-elect Rodrigo Duterte called China’s Prime Minister Xi Jinping a ‘great president’ inspite of frosty relations between Asian neighbors.
Duterte gives his praise to Xi in a news conference as a response to a questions about China’s president message to congratulate him on winning the recent election.
“I was honored, receiving a congratulatory message from a great president, uh prime minister,” Duterte said.
Xi wrote to Duterte after his victory, as a sign of standard diplomatic tradition for heads of state, the Chinese foreign ministry stated.
However, Xinhua, China’s official news agency reported that Xi was hoping the two sides would get bilateral relations back on the track of sound development.
It was remember back then that China and Philippines had sour ties during six-year term of President Benigno Aquino III, whom it sued China before a United Nations tribunal over its claims to disputed areas in West Philippine Sea.
Contrary to Aquino, Duterte said that he is willing to engage China in bilateral talks on the issue.
“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.
Duterte claims that he backs multilateral talks with the US, Japan and Australia as well as claimant nations to settle rows over disputed areas.
Duterte said that China, who claims most of the sea, should respect the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone granted to coastal states under international law.