Duterte not flip-flopping on China statements, says top envoy
By Kristine Angeli Sabillo
18 April 2017

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - The Philippines’ top diplomat says President Rodrigo Duterte has been consistent in his desire to improve ties with China but not at the expense of the country’s sovereignty.

Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo on Tuesday dismissed concerns that President Rodrigo Duterte has been “flip-flopping” on his statements pertaining to China.

“The President hasn’t made any flip-flopping statements,” Manalo said during a Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum in Makati.

He said Duterte has been “very determined to improve our relations with China but not at the expense of Philippine interest. And I think that has been his consistent line.”

“Really the only way to resolve differences is to talk. I think his main point is we have to open up dialogue with China and create a better climate of trust,” Manalo explained.

Manalo was responding to a question posed on social media about the Department of Foreign Affairs needing to reconcile the arbitral tribunal ruling on China’s claims in South China Sea and Duterte’s recent statements.

The Philippines and China has been at odds because of overlapping claims in West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) but Duterte has been on friendlier terms with China.

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