Philippines' Duterte says talks with China on sea dispute 'within the year'

Mr. Duterte said: "whether we like it or not, that arbitral judgment will be insisted not only by the Philippines but by the whole countries [here in] Southeast Asia".

His statements come just a month after an worldwide court of arbitration in the Hague ruled that China's "historic" claims to most of the South China Sea were invalid.

"I'm afraid if we can not understand each other, we have to pray for that".

"We will not raise hell now because of the judgement but there will come a time that we will have to do some reckoning about this", Duterte said in a speech to soldiers at a military camp.

Manila: The Philippines' territorial dispute with China over the South China Sea has not caused Manila to rebalance diplomatic ties with either its ally, the United States, or neighbouring China, Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said on Wednesday.

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, through which about US$5 trillion (RM20.2 trillion) worth of sea-borne trade passes every year.

"I will restore online (gambling) provided taxes are correctly collected and they are situated or placed in districts where gambling is allowed, which means to say, not within the church distance or schools", Duterte told a briefing. "It will be the bones of our soldiers and even my own", said Duterte.

The President said the Philippine government will have to find the best way "to defend our country".

Although Mr. Duterte said he would not raise the matter, he also added: "If somebody dwells on it, we will discuss, but for the Philippines, we have talks".

On Tuesday evening, President Rodrigo Duterte said he expects talks with China over the maritime dispute within a year.

"We want to make close friendship with China".

In 2012, China seized the shoal, denying Philippine fishermen access and prompting Manila to file the arbitration case.

China, which has in recent years undertaken giant land reclamation works in disputed parts of the sea, has vowed to ignore the ruling.

At the senate hearing, Yasay said the United States will not allow China to reclaim Panatag Shoal. Though he spoke sharply on the South China Sea during his campaign for the presidency, resolving to personally plant the Philippines flag on features claimed by the Philippines, Duterte has increasingly softened his approach.

  • Joey Payne