Philippines-China relations

Duterte to speak with Xi Jinping on April 8

Pia Ranada
Duterte to speak with Xi Jinping on April 8

'FRIEND.' This file photo was taken in November 2018, during President Xi Jinping's visit to Manila.

Malacañang

The meeting will take place two months before President Duterte's term ends

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he is scheduled to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping two months before he steps down as Chief Executive.

Duterte bared this on Thursday, March 31, during an event in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu province.

“China is good. I’m scheduled to – 8? April 8. Gusto ako kausapin ni Xi Jinping (Xi Jinping wants to talk to me),” said Duterte, calling the Chinese president his “friend.”

It is unclear if Duterte will be flying to China or anywhere else for the meeting, or if it will be held through teleconference.

The President also did not say what he would be discussing with the Chinese leader.

Weighs in on Ukraine-Russia war

Duterte mentioned the scheduled Xi meeting while talking about geopolitics and world conflict, in particular, the Ukraine-Russia war.

He said he expects China to react if the conflict in Europe escalates. If China joins the fray, he said, the Philippines would be in trouble because it is a military ally of the United States, a rival world power.

‘Pag tinamaan ang Russia ng nuclear o ang Russia and unang magtira, then there’s going to be a serious trouble. And China will not just sit idly there, babanat din siya, kukunin niya Taiwan. Ang problema, ang Pilipinas, tatamaan din tayo if there’s a full-scale war kasi may mga Amerikano dito,” said Duterte.

(When Russia gets hit by a nuclear missile or Russia is the first to use one, there’s going to be a serious trouble. And China will not just sit idly there, it will also hit back, it will get Taiwan. The problem is, the Philippines will be affected if there’s a full-scale war because there are Americans here.)

But before this, Duterte made remarks that appeared to partly blame the US for the continued conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Prefacing his statement by insisting he was “not defending” Russian President Vladimir Putin, Duterte said, “Inuudyok kasi sila (Russia), ang pakiusap lang ng Russia sa Ukraine, huwag lang sila pumasok sa NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).” 

(They are being goaded. The only request of Russia to Ukraine is that they not enter NATO.)

Amerikano nagpadala ng 3,000 troops there, sige na sila bigay ng armas and they were training the Ukrainians. Kaya at whose fault, at this time, I cannot judge,” added Duterte.

(Americans brought 3,000 troops there, keep giving arms and training the Ukrainians. So whose fault, at this time, I cannot judge.)

But the Philippine government, last February 28, had joined voices with other United Nations members in condemning Russia’s actions against Ukraine. The Philippines, under Duterte, has also called for the peaceful resolution of international disputes. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.