Duterte: Philippines-China joint drills possible

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he is open to joint exercises between the Philippine and the Chinese militaries.

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Duterte on Monday visited his hometown Davao City in the southern region, where Chinese naval ships are making a goodwill port call. He inspected a Chinese missile-guided destroyer docked there.

The Philippine navy says it is the first Chinese navy port call in the country since 2010.

After the tour, Duterte told reporters the visit by Chinese vessels demonstrates that his country and China are on good terms.

Asked about the prospect of joint military drills between the Philippines and China, he said he agreed with the idea and suggested they could be held in waters near Mindanao, in the southern Philippines.

The Philippine military regularly takes part in joint exercises with the US, but it has never held a full-scale drill with China.

The remarks came ahead of Duterte’s planned visit to China later this month.

Since taking office last June, Duterte has strived to improve soured relations with China in a bid to obtain economic assistance from Beijing.

The 2 countries have had a territorial dispute over the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea since a standoff there 5 years ago. China effectively controls the shoal. The Philippines also claims it.

Source and image: NHK
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