PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte bared that he will soon board a Chinese battleship which will visit Philippine shores.
“China is sending one of its biggest ships. I told the ambassador of China that I will board it,” Duterte said, without elaborating on the supposed port visit.
In January this year Duterte boarded a Russian warship, as he sought to forge a closer relationship with Moscow.
“Niyaya ko ang mga battleships nila. Nung una sabi ko ang Russia, nagkita kami ni [Russian Prime Minister Dmitry] Medvedev, ‘Ipakita mo ang mga vessel mo, mga navy mo.’ So they sent one. I went on board visited it. It was good. I said, talo mo ang mga Amerikano nito,” Duterte said.
Duterte also said he may visit a Japanese warship touring the disputed South China Sea.
But when US aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson visited the Philippines earlier this month, Duterte only sent three of his Cabinet secretaries.
“Yung dumaan na Amerikano, Vinson, the aircraft carrier, sabi ko si Vit Aguirre na lang at hindi pa nakasakay iyan ng barko,” Duterte said, referring to his Justice secretary.
Philippines-China relations, which were strained by the South China Sea dispute during the previous administration, have greatly improved since Duterte took office.
Duterte has chosen not to antagonize China over the dispute in exchange for more vibrant economic ties.