In a meeting on Wednesday, President Duterte confronted US Ambassador Sung Kim and asked him as to why the 7th fleet didn’t take immediate action towards the Chinese structures being built over the disputed West Philippine Sea.
According to the President, he had asked Kim as to why the US had appeared to be passive in dealing with China, when in fact the building of structures on high seas is prohibited under international law. He said that the ambassador wasn’t able to reply and that it was not on Kim’s agenda. He was also the US special representative for North Korea Policy at the time.
Despite reports confirming the military nature of the man-made structures by the Chinese in the disputed area, the President is still on the pursuit of enhancing its ties with Beijing.
It was on Tuesday when the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies released a report indicating that the man-made structures in the disputed area of the South China Sea consisted of runways, aircraft hangers radar sites and hardened surface-to-air missile shelters that are either finished or nearing completion.
Duterte had earlier expressed his somehow passive approach on the area, saying that it can’t be helped if China continued to enhance its presence over a territory that the Philippines had won through legal arbitration. However, he did insist upon using the ruling in the event that China crosses the line in terms of harvesting resources from the area.
The Philippines will be hosting the 30th ASEAN Summit next month and the dispute will be most likely on the table as talks about creating a certain Code of Conduct had already surfaced and been called for. China and the Philippines on the other hand, will have a separate round of talks in May.