Philippines President Duterte Thanks China For Free Bridges they Promised

President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua as he arrives in China for a four-day state visit. Also in the photo is Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Presidential Photo/Released, file
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MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday again expressed his gratitude to China for committing to build two bridges in the Philippines for free.

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In his second State of the Nation Address, the president personally thanked Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, who was in the session hall of the House of Representatives, for Beijing’s help.
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“China has committed to build two bridges to span Pasig River free of charge so that you will be comfortable in crossing Pasig,” Duterte said.
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Duterte stressed that China was willing to assist the Philippines when he visited Beijing to ask for funding.
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The president also said that China may fund additional airports that will be built in the country.
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“We are building new airports. We might get some money from China,” the president said.
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The comments, which were made while the president was talking about traffic on Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, the capital’s choked main thoroughfare, were actually a reiteration of remarks the president already made in March.
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Duterte stressed that the relationship between the Philippines and China has gotten better through a bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea.
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The two countries have been engaged in a maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea.
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“We have cultivated better relations with China through bilateral dialogues and order mechanisms leading to easing of tensions between the two countries and improved negotiating environment in the West Philippine Sea.” Duterte said.
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In 2014, the Aquino administration filed an arbitration case before a United Nations-backed tribunal, becoming the first country to openly challenge China’s excessive claims in the South China Sea.
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On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a landmark ruling invalidating China’s nine-dash line claim over the disputed waters. The international tribunal ruled that Beijing violated its commitment under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea upon building artificial islands and installing military facilities within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
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The Duterte administration, however, opted to set aside the arbitration and entered into direct negotiations with China to settle the dispute.
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 http://www.philstar.com:8080/headlines/2017/07/24/1721123/duterte-thanks-china-promise-free-bridges-across-pasig
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