Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte is “a strong man of principle” who clearly exhibits the type of leadership that the Chinese government would like to work with to improve the bilateral relations of China and the Philippines.
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua declared this during Wednesday’s handover of the donations from the Chinese Embassy in Manila to the University of Philippines regarding the losses of UP in the fire accident the previous month.
In fact, Ambassador Zhao is so eager to sit down and talk with the incoming Philippine leader about peaceful ways to settle Manila and Beijing’s territorial row over the mineral rich South China Sea that it believes the 2-year timetable laid down by Duterte before both governments can iron out their differences is actually too long.
“Let me quote what Chairman Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, had said: ‘10,000 years are too long. Seize the moment, seize the hour.’ I would say that two years is too long. Seize the moment, seize the hour.”
And with Duterte’s expected assumption to the country’s highest position at the end of next month, Ambassador Zhao expressed confidence that the relationship between the Philippines and China will only “get better.”
“We are glad that the President-elect has already opened the option for direct bilateral negotiation talks and we welcome that,” he told reporters in an ambush interview in the sidelines of the ceremony. “It’s always been China’s policy to settle disputes and differences through bilateral channels.”
“We are looking forward to working with the incoming president and his team to explore the possibility of returning to bilateral.talks,” said Zhao.