Wed. May 25th, 2022

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday revealed that Chinese President Xi Jinping wanted to speak with him.

(ptvnews.ph)

In a speech in Lapu-Lapu City, Duterte said he was scheduled to speak to Xi on April 8. He did not mention whether their conversation would be over the phone or a face-to-face meeting.

“I’m scheduled to…April 8. Gusto ako kausapin ni Xi Jinping. Magkaigan man kami (Xi Jinping wants to speak to me. We’re friends),” he said.

He did not also give further details about what would be discussed between them.

In several speeches, Duterte has expressed willingness to visit China to personally thank Xi for China’s donated Covid-19 vaccines.

He earlier described China’s vaccine donation as a “gesture of friendship and solidarity”, which to him is the hallmark of the Philippine-China partnership.

Duterte’s last trip to China was in August 2019. It was where he raised the Philippines’ 2016 arbitral victory against China’s sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea (SCS).

China has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the Philippines’ historic victory at The Hague.

Meanwhile, Duterte reiterated his warning that if Russia decides to use nuclear weapons during its invasion of Ukraine, “China would not sit idly.”

“I also realize that if it will be a full-scale war, it will spill over. If Russia attacks then there’s gonna be a serious problem. Ang China will not just sit idly there. It will also attack, it will take over Taiwan,” he said partly in Filipino.

He said this incident could spell trouble for the Philippines.

“The problem is the Philippines will also take a hit if there’s a full-scale war because there are Americans here,” he added in Filipino.

Duterte said the Philippines will not deploy troops to assist if the US intervenes in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“I will never, never commit the Armed Forces, my soldiers, to go to war. We are not even connected, however big or small,” he said.

Earlier, Malacañang said Duterte may mediate in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, should world leaders ask.

Despite this, Duterte has repeatedly said the Philippines will remain neutral amid the crisis.

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