DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, May 1, 2017, visited China’s Navy flagship destroyer Changchun docked at Sasa Port in Davao City saying it would be the start of a greater cooperation with the Chinese military particularly against piracy.
Changchun is one of the three Chinese navy vessels that arrived in Davao City.
In an interview with reporters, the President described China’s warship as “very impressive” and comparable to a hotel.
“It’s clean and even the carpeting, it’s all carpeted inside and it’s like a hotel actually,” he said.
Asked by the members of the press if his visit will be the start of a series of cooperation with the Chinese military, he said, “Yes, part really of the confidence building and goodwill and to show that we are friends.”
He said he welcomed the Chinese navy vessels and he was the one who asked for the warships to come to the Philippines.
At the same time, the President said he agreed to a joint military exercises with China in Mindanao possibly in the Sulu Sea.
The President also discussed his phone call with United States President Donald Trump echoing the concern of other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) about the devastating effects of war in the Korean Peninsula.
“Sinabi ko lang na we are as concerned and I supposed that you have the persuasive power, you are showing it to him. There has to be a sense somewhere,” he said of his discussion with Trump.
He said the US could not scare North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with firepower and the greatest chance of getting some dialogue between America and North Korea would be through China.
The President also clarified that the Philippines is not distancing itself from the US but there was some rift before because of differing views between him, former US President Barack Obama and the US State Department.
But things have changed, he said, adding that he is already friends with the newly elected US President.
“There’s a new leadership. He wants to make friends and he says that we are friends. So why do you have to pick a fight?”, the President said.###PND