Duterte: PH made friends with China expecting nothing in return

Published July 8, 2021, 10:21 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The Philippines has forged closer friendship with China with no strings attached.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Xi Jinping of People’s Republic of China pose for a photo prior to their expanded bilateral meeting at the Malacañang on November 20, 2018. (Malacañang)

President Duterte declared Wednesday that the country befriended China “because we just like to be friends.” According to the President, it would be “stupid” to forge friendship with China with expectations of what the Asian neighbor can give the country.

“I make friends with China. Hindi naman ako talaga — they offered to help. If the aid is coming, good. If not, okay lang rin sa akin because we do not make friends in anticipation of what they can give to us. That is stupid. We make friends because we just like to be friends,” he said during a meeting with PDP-Laban party mates Tuesday.

The President also expressed the country’s gratitude for China’s kindness for giving coronavirus vaccines to the country. He recalled that China was the first to give the country’s vaccines against the virus.

The country got its first batch of 600,000 Sinovac doses, a donation from the Chinese government, last Feb. 28. The arrival of the vaccines allowed the government to kick off a vaccination drive initially covering health care workers last March. China donated another 400,000 jabs to the country.

“Now if your friend is kind to you, then be thankful. Kagaya nga nang pag-umpisa nitong contagion, wala talaga tayong bakuna (When the contagion started, we had no vaccines). The other nations who are rich and who had reached the apex of their technology, sila ang unang nakapagbakuna (They were the first to get vaccinated),” he said.

Under the leadership of Duterte, the Philippines opted to pursue dialogue with China to manage the territorial dispute while pursuing close economic and security ties with Asian giant. While he appreciated China as a friend and benefactor, he made clear that he would not compromise the country’s sovereignty and sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.