President Duterte leaves for China

(Eagle News)–President Rodrigo Duterte left for his trip to China on Wednesday, Aug. 28.

The President left Manila for what would be his fifth visit to the Asian giant around 7 p.m.

The Palace has said the President would raise the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated China’s nine-dash line during the trip, when he is expected to meet with China President Xi Jinping.

The nine-dash line delineates China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea, parts of which the Philippines claims.

The Palace added also to be discussed was the 60-40 joint exploration deal covering the disputed waters, and the June 9 Recto Bank incident, which saw a Chinese vessel hitting a Filipino fishing vessel and abandoning the fishing vessel’s Filipino crewmen in distress at sea.

On Wednesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs tweeted a translation of the apology of the owner of the Chinese vessel, as contained in a letter signed by Chen Shiqin,  president of the Guangdong Fishery Mutual Insurance Association.

The letter was  reportedly given to the China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

The President, who reportedly has the preliminary results of the probe conducted by Philippine maritime authorities on the incident,  had described what happened as a “maritime incident.”

Duterte’s visit also comes after the Philippines filed diplomatic protests against China over several issues, including the swarming of Chinese vessels near Pagasa Island, the unauthorized passage of Chinese warships  through Sibutu Strait, and the presence of Chinese survey and warships in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also exchanged words with Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, who took offense at Lorenzana’s remark those employed, mostly Chinese, in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations could easily shift to spying because of the POGO hubs’ proximity to military facilities.

The President is slated to end his China visit on September 2.