China is willing to cooperate with the Philippines in its campaign against illegal drugs.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Chinese Embassy in Manila said its country "fully understands" that the Philippine government, under President Rodrigo Duterte, has placed the crackdown on drug-related crimes as its "top priority."
"China has expressed explicitly to the new administration China's willingness for effective cooperation in this regard, and would like to work out a specific plan of action with the Philippine side," it said.
China pointed out that it has "been promoting and has carried out effective international cooperation with many countries.
It added that the Chinese government "has been firm and severe in drug control and in punishing all drug criminals in accordance with laws regardless of their nationalities."
On Sunday, Duterte said he will raise his grievances to China over the involvement of Chinese nationals in the illegal drug trade in the Philippines.
This pronouncement came after police captured an alleged floating shabu laboratory in waters off Subic last week, when four Hong Kong nationals were arrested.
"They were directing the traffic sa loob. Mayroon akong alam pero ‘wag muna. Tatapusin ko muna ‘to. Nasa presyuhan na sila. They’re cooking shabu, on-board sa ships. Tapos Chinese registry," he said.
The President said he would exercise restraint in the meantime, but will confront China once "bigger" issues are settled.
Duterte did not say if the "bigger issue" he was referring to was the recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that favored the Philippines in the case it filed against China. — Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/RSJ, GMA News