Duterte eyes 'goodwill visit' to China

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President Rodrigo Duterte says he prefers to talk about the territorial dispute directly with China rather than bring it up at the ASEAN meeting in Laos next month. (file photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday he is considering going on a "goodwill visit" to China in a bid to jump start bilateral talks on the territorial dispute.

The President said he prefers to discuss the territorial dispute directly with China rather than bring up the matter during the  Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Laos, which he is attending next month.

"That has to wait because, if I act hostile now, then they might just decide not to sit in front of you and talk. Magkapikunan [This might raise tensions]," he said.

Duterte said that the summit will not be the proper venue to be "ranting" or "raising hell."

He said that a visit to China may be the better option, "Maybe a goodwill visit to their country to express our willingness to talk, be friendly and avoid war." Citing the importance of bilateral talks, he said, "There are two things, you talk, or go to war or create trouble. If you cannot afford to go to war or do some trouble there's only one (thing) left for you to do, and that is to talk. What is there to worry about?"

Ties between China and the Philippines soured over the countries' maritime dispute in the South China Sea. On July 12, an international tribunal of judges ruled in favor of the Philippines in a case against China's claims to virtually all of the South China Sea.

Former President and current special envoy to Beijing Fidel Ramos met with Chinese officials in Hong Kong this month to rekindle ties between the two countries. Ramos described the meeting as "very encouraging."