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Pres. Duterte, admits to being on a 'tightrope' to prevent conflict with China


On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte admitted he was on a "tightrope" because he could not afford to provoke China, whom he regards as a "friend.", Duterte made the admission, as he emphasized the need to maintain the Philippines’ improved ties with China.


“I am walking on a tightrope actually. I cannot afford to be brave in the mouth against China because we are avoiding any confrontation, a confrontation that would lead to something which we can hardly avoid. At least not at this time,” he said in a speech.


Duterte's declaration came after the reluctance of the Philippines to attend last year's naval exercises with the United States and other allied countries in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).


Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana defended the Philippines' decision to miss naval exercises in the South China Sea in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday, claiming Filipino troops lacked the assets to "match" China's operations in the disputed seas.


On July 12, 2016, after the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruled that Beijing had no legal ground to assert ancient claims over virtually the entire South China Sea, the Philippines won the arbitration case it brought against China.


However, due to Beijing's unwillingness to recognize the PCA decision, the Philippines has agreed to settle the sea tensions with China by a peaceful and diplomatic approach.


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