President Duterte is open to joint military exercises with China

DAVAO, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte visited on Monday one of the three Chinese warships that are now docked at Sasa Wharf in Davao City.

The President was briefed and was also given a tour on the capability of Chang Chun, a guided missile destroyer of the Chinese Navy.

“In my term I’ll try to make something like this. It has to be as beautiful as this,” President Duterte said.

The President added that it was he who asked China to show to him their warships.

He said this is also part of the confidence building measures between Philippines and China.

The President also stated that he is open to the conduct of a joint military exercise with China.

“We can have joint exercise here in Mindanao, maybe in the Sulu Sea,” he said.

However, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said a joint military drill with China may take a while before it can materialize because certain legal arrangements must be made.

“Kailangan magkaroon muna tayo ng framework agreement. Kung exercises, nandito ang tropa nila, we have to craft a visiting forces agreement and that’s very important. Kailangan natin ng sang ayon ng Kongreso. So it’s still a very long process,” he said.

(We need to have a framework agreement first. We have to craft a visiting forces agreement if their troops will be here for the exercises, and that’s very important. We need the nod of the Congress. So, it it is still a very long process.)

Meanwhile, President Duterte said he has not yet given a definite response to the invitation of US President Donald Trump to visit the US.

He said for now he still has a tight schedule since he is bound to visit Russia and also Israel in the coming months.

However, Duterte said that during his phone conversation with President Trump he expressed his concern that the US must not push thru with waging war against North Korea.

“Well, it is the concern of everybody not only with US but the ASEAN guys. Heads of states also expressed their fear of an outbreak because of the threat of a nuclear warhead. And, ang fall out niyan would include China, alam nila and pati tayo (It’s fall out would include China and Philippines and the Philippines) is within striking distance from their missiles,” he said.

Duterte added that the greatest chance for America and North Korea to enter into a dialogue would be thru the intercession of China. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

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