PH won’t take part in US-China conflict: Palace insists

MANILA The Philippines will not take part in any conflict between the United States and China, MalacaAang has said, following the statement of President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the Philippines has good relations with the two countries.

Duterte, during the founding anniversary of the Chinese Filipino Business Club at the Manila Hotel on Monday night, said the Chinese structures and military bases being built in the disputed territories were not intended against the Philippines but against the US.

Roque said Duterte simply meant that because the Philippines was in good terms with both the US and China, it would maintain the policy of neutrality.

I think the context is we're in good terms with both US and China, so it is not to our national interest to go to war, which is what some people wantto assert what they perceive to be our weak position in China, Roque said in a Palace briefing on Tuesday.

Roque said that as part of the Philippine government's independent foreign policy, it would not allow itself to be dragged into a war between the two countries.

They want to assert our national sovereignty, I guess, through military means. But the President is saying 'we don't have to do that, we're in good terms with the Americans, we're excellent terms with Chinese. If there is a conflict between them, so be it. But we will not take part in it, he added.

Last month, China protested against the sailing of a US Navy warship near the Panatag Shoal or Scarborough Shoal, which is 124 nautical miles from the nearest base point in Zambales Province.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said that every time a foreign country gets in another country's territory or claimed territory, it was expected that the latter would call the attention of the other.

But in this case, he pointed out the difference was that the Philippines had a mutual defense treaty with the US.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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