PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will not press China on the United Nations’ (UN) arbitral ruling over the West Philippine Sea despite China’s alleged installation of military weapons on its artificial islands built in the disputed sea.
“In the play of politics now, I will set aside the arbitral ruling,” Duterte said in an early morning press conference in Davao City after his arrival from state visits to Cambodia and Singapore.
“I will not impose anything on China. Why? Because the politics here in Southeast Asia is changing. Like us now, I will separate or I will demand that you [US forces] go out of my country,” he said.
Duterte made the statement as he threatened to cancel the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, after the United States aid agency Millennium Challenge Corp. put on hold funding for anti-poverty programs in the country.
The President said the VFA, after all, was an executive agreement and not a treaty.