Duterte to tell Xi: State visit not time to discuss sea row

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President Duterte speaks in Beijing.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte says he will not initiate discussions on the South China Sea conflict when he meets with President Xi Jinping — unless the Chinese leader mentions it first.

Speaking before Filipinos and the media in Beijing on Wednesday evening, Duterte said he would be courteous and wait for Xi to mention the issue — then he would respond.

"I will just say, Mr. President, I came here for a visit. I do not want to make hardened positions. I do not want to ask you to do it now because there will be a time when we will be doing it," Duterte said.

Before leaving the country on Sunday, Duterte said he would take up the West Philippine Sea issue with Chinese leaders and assured Filipinos there would be no bargaining on the country's claims.

Related: Full normalization of ties with China seen in Duterte visit

In Beijing, he said he was not keen on having joint military exercise with China because of the friction between Beijing and Washington. He added that holding war games with China will only fuel tensions between the two.

Duterte will not ask for military hardware from China, adding that only those who wanted war would boost their defense capabilities.

The President said he would rather seek peaceful means to resolve the conflict; that is, through diplomacy.

Davao City-based correspondent Ben Tesiorna contributed to this report.