As neighboring countries reinforce their maritime vigilance with a buildup of arms, Duterte has maintained a voice of calm and reason in trying to preserve peace and goodwill with China.He has repeatedly pointed out that Philippine economic growth could be derailed by military conflict involving the West Philippine Sea, which is the smaller area of the South China Sea, off the country’s western seaboard.
Philippine presidential hopeful Mayor Rodrigo Duterte favors peace above all else in seeking a resolution to the South China Sea dispute.
He has expressed his willingness to partner up with China in mutually beneficial joint ventures that do not compromise Philippine sovereignty or freedom of navigation in the global commons.
Firstly, he would continue the Philippines’ appeal for arbitration with the United Nations.
Secondly, he would willingly engage China in bilateral negotiations.
In light of the upcoming Philippine elections, Duterte released a foreign policy statement to the press.It included the protocol he would follow as a president for peace in dealing with the South China Sea situation.