Duterte to China: No need to use 'nasty words' against Filipinos

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President Rodrigo Duterte. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) — President Rodrigo Duterte slammed China's use of "nasty words" against Filipinos, saying the Chinese do not need to use them.

"Just because we are friends, huwag mo na kaming [please don't] — 'Filipinos. Go out there or that is your responsibility if anything will happen,'" Duterte said in a speech during the convention of Hugpong ng Pababago in Davao City Friday evening. "And we are not — I told you we are not prepared to go to war with you, so why do you have to say those nasty words? There's no need for that."

The President was responding to reports of China ordering Philippine aircraft flying over the South China Sea to leave the disputed waters.

"Alam naman — you know very well that we will not attack anybody there. And we are a claimant of the group of islands," he said.

Duterte has been criticized for having warmer ties with China, although it has refused to observe a 2016 ruling granting the Philippines' sovereign rights over parts of the West Philippine Sea.

Earlier, the President said China must temper its behavior amid the sea row. But reports said China retorted to Duterte's remarks, adding that Chinese nationals have the right to call out ships and aircraft hovering near its islands.