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Duterte eyes China training for PHL military

President Rodrigo Duterte is considering sending soldiers to China for training to boost their anti-terrorism capabilities.

"[I]’m sure there is an academy there to train good professional Chinese soldiers. Maybe China can accommodate them also and let them not really to fight the Americans but terrorism,” Duterte said in a speech before Filipino-Chinese businessmen at the Manila Hotel on Monday evening.

In February last year, Duterte said Russia offered to train some members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Ties with China have warmed under Duterte, who has put aside maritime disputes with Beijing, looking to it to play a key role in building and funding urgently needed infrastructure.

While the President asserted that the features in the West Philippine Sea belonged to the Philippines, he also suggested to China in jest to make the Philippines as one of its provinces.

"You know, the President is the President. And when he was serious at the beginning of the speech and when he was very clear, I think he can jest in a later part of the speech," presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said when asked on whether Duterte, as head of state, should be more careful with his pronouncements.

"It’s just to emphasize na it’s ours but we’re one with China. Take it in that spirit. But he was very firm that we have title over the disputed are in West Philippine Sea, and we have exclusive rights in the Philippine Rise (Benham Rise)," the Palace official said. — MDM, GMA News