The recent remarks of President Rodrigo R. Duterte asking China to temper its behavior in the South China Sea has not affected the country’s relations with the Philippines, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said.
The President made the statement in response to reports that the Chinese navy stationed in the region has issued warnings to a Philippine military aircraft flying over the militarized area in South China Sea.
In an interview with reporters on Wednesday evening, Mr. Cayetano said he, along with Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr., has informed the President Wednesday afternoon that the radio warnings were just “routine.”
Despite the assurances, he said Mr. Duterte has instructed them to talk to the his counterparts in China to find a “better way of talking to each other.”
“I was with the Defense secretary and the NSA secretary then we went to the President this afternoon, and we told him Sir, this is routine. We continue to tell anyone who goes into our waters fly over that you are in Philippine territory, and they continue to tell us,” he said.
“But the President gave us instructions regardless if it’s routine, regardless of good intentions, whatever, that’s not how friends treat each other so he asked me please talk to your counterparts we’ve worked out many things in the past he’s confident we can work this out,” he added. — Camille A. Aguinaldo