FOREIGN Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. yesterday said that there will be no defense talks during the four-day state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte in China.
“We are not talking about joint exploration. This is not the right time to talk about joint exploration. We are just simply talking about how we can improve our ties with China without eroding or compromising our disputes, which is just a small portion of our relationship with China in regards with the South China Sea,” he told reporters before attending a welcoming lunch organized by Mingda Investment Co. Ltd. and Fujian Chamber of Commerce at Beijing Hotel.
He also said that there would be no talks about defense and fishing rights.
“Nothing about that. We are just talking about economic,” Yasay reiterated. He also emphasized that the state visit will focus on economic and trade deals.
“If you’re asking me about the trip to China, this is it. We are taking advantage of the opportunity of making sure that the other aspects of our relationship with our neighbor China will be pursued. This is the reason why we’re here. In the past, there has been a weakening of this relationship but now we see that there are opportunities that are being brought by our President’s call to make sure that we renew ties with our neighbors. And this is what we are doing,” Yasay explained.
“We are not expecting alliances in terms of anything that others may have suggested, no. We are just treating our friends in an equal manner in carrying out our independent foreign policy,” he said.