MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese government says it is willing to cooperate with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in cracking down on illegal drugs.
In a statement released on Tuesday, July 19, the Chinese embassy in Manila expressed "China’s willingness for effective cooperation" in the campaign against illegal drugs.
"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," reads the statement released by embassy spokesperson Li Lingxiao.
China said it recognizes the Duterte administration's firm stance on eradicating the problem of drugs in the Philippines.
"China fully understands that the Philippine government under the leadership of H.E. President Rodrigo Duterte has taken it as a top priority in cracking down drug-related crimes," says the statement.
The Asian superpower, however, reminded the Duterte administration that it too "has been firm and severe in drug control and in punishing all drug criminals in accordance with laws regardless their nationalities."
It called illegal drugs a "common enemy of mankind" and said fighting drug-related crimes is a "shared responsibiluty of all countries."
China's statement comes after Duterte said he would confront China on why Chinese drug lords are able to run drug-trafficking operations in the Philippines.
The Philippine president had previously announced the names of 3 Chinese nationals he accused of being top drug lords.
Duterte said he would talk to China about the drug problem after issues like the West Philippine Sea dispute have been settled.
While China appears willing to cooperate in tackling drugs, it has been harsh in condemning a recent ruling of an international court that nullifies its claims in the West Philippine Sea. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.