South China Sea issue dominates Philippines’ Pres first address

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South China Sea issue dominates Philippines' Pres first address

The Philippines President is calling for more diplomacy, not more military might, in the South China Sea dispute.

That’s what Rodrigo Duterte said in his first State of the Nation address.

CCTV America’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.

South China Sea issue dominates Philippines' Pres first address

South China Sea issue dominates Philippines' Pres first address

On Monday, the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said the two countries will cooperate bilaterally to resolve a dispute in the South China Sea. CCTV America’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.

It was perhaps the clearest indication yet from Manila that it is looking to work with Beijing, not against it.

On Monday, the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said the two countries will cooperate bilaterally to resolve a dispute in the South China Sea.

He said his case is bolstered by a court finding two weeks ago rejected by Beijing that appeared to validate Manila’s claims over some of the waters and the islands there.

Enforcing its claims by military means, Duterte has said, is not an option. Instead, he’s appointed a special envoy to Beijing.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of Duterte’s speech was his announcement of a unilateral ceasefire with communist-backed Maoist rebels. Decades of fighting have left tens of thousands of people dead.

Later this week, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Duterte and his foreign secretary.

It’ll be the highest level meeting between Washington and Manila since Duterte took office. U.S. officials say the two will discuss “a full range of issues” that most certainly will include the ceasefire, the crackdown and, of course, the South China Sea.


Einar Tangen on impact of Duterte’s policies on relations with China

For more on what to make of President Duterte’s address and China’s approach, CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke to our Political and Economic Affairs Commentator Einar Tangen.