China plays down Philippine leader's comments on arbitration case

China plays down Philippine leader's comments on arbitration case

In this October 13, 2016, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during his address to a Filipino business sector in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines.

Currently, the Philippines and China are negotiating a 25-year bilateral military agreement which allows Manila to purchase Chinese weapons.

A large contingent of Philippine businessmen accompanying Duterte is expecting the Chinese to lift bans on more than two dozen fruits, imposed by Beijing four years ago in retaliation against the former government for its stance on the South China Sea.

He also explained to Al Jazeera why his relations with Washington have recently become strained.

He has also suggested that he might start courting China and Russian Federation instead.

Song Junying, an expert specialising in Asia-Pacific studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said a brief mention of the arbitration would affect the atmosphere a little during the talks in Beijing, but it was of small outcome as Duterte's state visit marked a positive turn in relations.

Duterte is traveling to China with more than 200 business leaders.

Speaking of the two countries' economic and trade cooperation, Duterte said that since his country is abundant in tourism, mineral and agricultural resources, and China boasts a huge lucrative market, the two neighbors enjoy high complementarity and considerable potential for further cooperation.

Japan is the Philippines biggest trade partner, but Hong Kong is not far behind Tokyo in the lineup. The US has voiced support for Philippines-Chinese dialogue.

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A Filippino fisherman removes tow ropes of his boat before heading out into the South China Sea, in Masinloc, Philippines, Nov. 8, 2015. But she said the talks could lead to new thinking and new programs.

He said that unlike the US and other Western nations, China has offered its support for his 3-month-old government without criticism.

China and the Philippines may disagree about control of the disputed waterway, but they agree on other issues.

The Philippines' and the United States' relations have historically been strong and have been described as a "special relationship". "So we might be asking for your help, asking the Chinese people to help Chinese people here". Beijing has offered to help in the effort and has invested in the construction of a drug rehab center.

President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte said he was not afraid of the threat of the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that he could be tried by the tribunal for the alarming increase in extra judicial killings due to his ongoing and intensified war on illegal drugs.

"The Philippines is shifting from a very close and tight alignment with the United States that made it seem we were part of the anti-China coalition", Romana said in an interview. While his volatility challenges US foreign policy, it could also cause headaches for China - particularly if he invokes July's unanimous ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration to challenge China's claims to Scarborough Shoal. The ruling bore the spirit of multilateralism that would reduce China's relative heft vis-a-vis the other claimant countries and brought the sort of outside intervention that Beijing has long condemned.

SWS said that the United States has been in positive territory since it first surveyed the superpower in December 1994.

He added that there are around 2 million people of Chinese origin living and working in the Philippines.