Duterte says he won't raise sea feud win vs. China in summit

The government plans to build a dock starting next month to accommodate ships with construction materials, Lorenzana said.

China's claims are being challenged by Asean members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Duterte's turn entailed several concessions to China that his critics claim could erode national sovereignty and security in pursuit of economic gains.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China was "gravely concerned about and dissatisfied" by the island visit, adding that China "has lodged representations with the Philippine side".

The Philippines is hosting meetings of ASEAN in 2017.

"We are very fortunate to say that there are no threats detected for the coming ASEAN meetings (at the PICC in Pasay City)", he added.

Villacorta noted that with the USA putting itself first, China "has the wherewithal to help us the most".

However, Jose did not deny that the South China Sea dispute and the conflict on the Korean Peninsula could be mentioned by President Jokowi in the summit. He said that police conducting legitimate operations are required to follow protocols and those who breach them are made to answer before the law.

Duterte told reporters it was also not worth discussing with counterparts of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) last year's global arbitration ruling, which invalidated China's claim to most of the South China Sea.

Analysts noted that the Philippines might be hesitant to provoke China given warmer ties between the two countries.

A former government official involved in foreign policy likened the Philippines to Cambodia, which has been accused of taking China's side and serving as a de facto veto against consensus ASEAN decisions that would otherwise be unfavourable to Beijing.

Meanwhile, the People's SEA Campaign will hold a press conference on Wednesday at the Mabuhay Restop, South Drive, Rizal Park (across the old Army Navy Club) to present their campaign related to ASEAN.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and has aggressively tried to fortify its foothold by transforming seven mostly submerged reefs into island outposts. It's not even a territorial thing.

This time a year ago, Southeast Asian nations risked descending into squabbling over how to handle China's assertiveness in their region.

"With mounting evidence of government involvement in thousands of extrajudicial executions in Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs", Amnesty International is calling on regional leaders to take a stand against possible crimes against humanity", the group said. "You might want to extrapolate something out of it", the President said.

Carlyle Thayer, an expert on the South China Sea from University of New South Wales' Australian Defence Force Academy, said China and ASEAN could agree on the ground rules or "framework" for a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea by June, while a formal agreement will take longer, possibly spilling over until 2018. "It will evolve more quickly because we need to have it finalized by the time the leaders meet on Saturday, and the final version will be of course issued after the leaders' summit", DFA Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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