Duterte's China visit a 'turning point'

Xi Jinping holds a welcome ceremony for visiting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte before their talks in Beijing

I can not do that. "We may be able to return to Scarborough Shoal, the fishing by our countrymen", Duterte said in a speech in the northern city of Tuguegarao, making a visit after the region was lashed by a super typhoon.

Despite the clarification, the tough-talking president kept up on his tirades against the USA, saying in a late-night speech in his southern hometown of Davao city that he would never travel to America "in this lifetime".

"As a separation, what I'm really saying is a separation of foreign policy", the president emphasized.

But since becoming president Duterte has done a dramatic foreign policy U-turn that has baffled United States leaders.

"But I will not insist now, I will not impose now, I will not go to war now, I will not waste the life of my soldiers", Duterte said.

"Both sides also reaffirm the importance of. addressing their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned", the statement said.

He also launched another tirade against the United States for criticizing his war on crime, which has left more than 3,600 people dead and raised fears about extrajudicial killings. "Problem is - personally, of course, it doesn't matter much - but I am a president of a country and we have these splendid relations with America.I can not gamble an answer". "Assistance, USAID, you can go to hell", he said, referring to the American program responsible for sending foreign aid.

He is in the Philippines for a previously scheduled visit to clarify Philippine-US relations and meet with Filipino youth leaders.

Earlier officials in Manila were left scrambling to explain the latest comments from Duterte, whose broadsides against the United States have grown increasingly frequent.

THE Philippines' strengthened ties with China is seen to boost the business industry in Negros Occidental.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which about US$5 trillion (RM20.9 trillion) in trade passes every year. Del Rosario called Duterte's shift from Washington to Beijing as "a national tragedy".

In a July 12 ruling, the global arbitration court said China had no historical title over the South China Sea and that it had breached the Philippines' sovereign rights.

The back down came after Mr Duterte's remarks in China's Great Hall of the People had provoked diplomatic alarm in Washington and among the US's allies in Asia, including Australia.

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