Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte said Manila’s relations with Beijing will not be jeopardised despite two former officials filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court over China’s aggression in the disputed South China Sea, Reuters reported.
Since taking office in 2016, the Philippine leader re-oriented his foreign policy away from longtime ally the United States and toward China, despite decades of mistrust and bitter maritime disputes with Beijing.
However, the country’s former anti-graft chief and former foreign affairs minister is asking the ICC to conduct a preliminary examination on China’s role in the South China Sea.
The letter was dated March 13 - four days before the Philippines’ unilateral withdrawal from the ICC was formalized.
Duterte said: “They think they have a good case and I would say that there is no jurisdiction over this country and of China.”
Close ties will remain as China understands that anyone can file a case as the Philippines is a democratic country, he told reporters late on Thursday.