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Aquino blamed for sour turn in PH-China ties

Former President Aquino may be partly to blame for the escalation of the territorial conflict between the Philippines and China, according to President Duterte.

The President revealed that his predecessor drew the ire of China after his administration objected to the proposed joint gas exploration in the South China Sea.

“We had this scientific, you know, it was supposed to be – actually it was just a legalese, lang ‘yun in a diplomatic way to really – towards a joint venture,” the President said in his visit to Misamis Oriental last Thursday.

“Nung umakyat si Aquino tinabla niya so kaya galit ang China. Galit talaga sa kanya,” Duterte said about Aquino whose administration initiated the arbitration case against China before the Hague-based tribunal.

Unlike his predecessor, Duterte has chosen a friendlier tone towards China by agreeing to bilateral talks to settle the maritime dispute in the South China Sea.

Duterte said he prefers to forge peace with China than wage violence or force in resolving the sea dispute. He, however, has insisted that the country would assert its ownership of the West Philippine Sea, which has been bolstered by the international tribunal decision that nullified China’s claims on the disputed waters.

Meanwhile, Duterte sees nothing wrong if the country’s next leader would be a communist as long as he is elected by the people.

The President made the remarks shortly before his meeting with National Democratic Front chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni last Thursday night in Davao City on advancing the peace process between the government and the local communist rebels.

“Kung komunista ang maging President okay, but go mainstream and get yourself elected. Bahala na ang tao kung ano ang gusto nila,” Duterte said during his visit to Cagayan de Oro City last Thursday.

“But we cannot exist on the ‘yung communism, mahirap iyan. It has been repudiated by the people so we can seek another arrangement if you want,” he added.

The President reiterated that he will not agree to a coalition government with the communist rebels. He said he must retain control of the military and police while he has offered some Cabinet posts to the Left.

“I am for an inclusive government but I am not ready for a coalition government. Inclusive government nandiyan na sila,” he said. “Huwag mo lang pakialam ang pulis pati military magkaintindihan na tayo. No coalition government. I will not allow any – except those who are elected by the Republic of the Philippines, the people,” he added.
(Genalyn D. Kabiling)