Duterte on China visit: West Philippine Sea will be on the table

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said there will be no bargaining on the Philippines' territorial rights when he tackles during his state visit to Beijing the maritime dispute on the  South China Sea.

The President said he will take up with China's leaders the United Nations Arbitral decision on the contested territories in the area.

"On the matter of West Philippine Sea, we will stick to our claim. We do not bargain anything there."

Read: China 'does not accept or recognize' tribunal's South China Sea ruling

But the President also made it clear-there will be no impositions made.

"We continue to insist what is ours, and the tribunal international decision will be taken up. But there will be no hard impositions," President Duterte said.

"We will talk and we will, maybe, paraphrase everything in the judgment and set the limits of our territories-the special economic zones."

Duterte added, there will be "no bargaining" on established Philippine territories-but pointed out that he could only work on issues that the Constitution has empowered him to work on as the country's President.

"No bargaining of our territories… It will remain a special concern and I will be very careful not to bargain anything. For after all, I cannot give what is not mine and which I am not empowered to do by any stretch of imagination," the President said.


President Duterte is scheduled to visit China from October 18 to 21, where he is expected to meet with President Xi Jinping and China Premier Li Kequiang, among others.

His visit is the first state visit of a Philippine President since 2011.  The President is convinced that the visit "signals a key turning point" in the two nations' histories.

The President said he looks forward to exchanging views with China's leaders to further improve bilateral relations between the two countries.

"I will look forward to renewing the ties of friendship between the Philippines and China and to reaffirm the commitment to work closer to achieve shared goals for our countries and peoples," the President said.

President Duterte added, he shall seek ways to strengthen cooperation particularly to intensify two-way trade and investments

To visit Brunei first

Before he visits Beijing, President Duterte's delegation is set to visit Brunei Darussalam, where he will meet with Beunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

Mr. Duterte said he will seek to "foster closer cooperation" especially within the context of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)-especially on principles of creating a drug-free ASEAN community.

"I will seek closer collaboration in our campaign on illegal drugs towards a common goal of realizing a drug-free ASEAN community," the President said.

Read: PH, Vietnam agree on 6-year strategic partnership

Aside from this, President Duterte said among his priorities are intensifying trade and investments and SME's, and securing just and lasting peace in Mindanao.

As the Philippine government continues to pursue peace talks, Duterte said "Brunei will continue to play an important role."

In the area of defense and security cooperation, the President said he will seek "collaborative undertakings in the sharing and expertise of maritime security as well as capacity building."

President Duterte is also expected to meet with the Filipino community in Brunei.

The President said he would like to thank the Filipinos there for their socio-economic contributions to the Philippines, and also update them on the developments back home.