(Eagle News)–President Rodrigo Duterte’s handling of the West Philippine Sea issue has been hailed in a Chinese newspaper.
Columnist Li Qingqing, in a column published in the Global Times, described China-Philippines ties amid the dispute as a “model for cooperation,” noting that “China and the Philippines are making an effort to ease tensions in the region and explore a new path of regional cooperation.”
Li said this was possible because President Rodrigo Duterte, based on his State of the Nation Address, “has realized that putting disputes aside and seeking cooperation with China brings most benefits to his country.”
“For the Philippines, a country that used to rely heavily on oil imports, such a joint development with China in the South China Sea not only eases Manila’s pressure of imports, but also reduces its over-reliance on the international energy market,” Li said.
“Such cooperation also improves the Philippines’ energy structure and will greatly benefit the country in the long run,” the columnist added.
Li said this was not the case with other countries that are “very sensitive about China’s movements in the South China Sea” and “over-interpret China’s decisions, accuse China of ‘bullying,’ and even sow dissension among countries in the region to benefit from it.”
Li said ” if these countries really hope for peace and stability in the South China Sea, they should focus on joint development rather than hyping the South China Sea issue and badmouthing China.”
The writer said China, while “determined to safeguard its national sovereignty,” also after all has the “goodwill to maintain peace and promote cooperation in the South China Sea.”
“Instead of struggling with disputes, doesn’t such win-win cooperation bring greater advantage to both sides?” Li asked.