By Leonel Abasola

Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian (File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Monday he would not ask China to recall its ambassador in the Philippines amid reports about the envoy’s supposedly disrespectful behavior, including his reported bullying of the Armed Forces chief.

“He’s the Ambassador of China. So, he will always take the Chinese position. Again, kung siguro ako’ng personally pinag-uusapan maybe I’ll be upset. But you’re talking about me, we’re talking about the Philippines,” President Marcos said in a media interview in Tokyo when asked if he is still comfortable with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian.

“That doesn’t serve any purpose for us to lose our temper or to overreact. So, kung ‘yan ang gustong ibigay sa atin na Ambassador ng China eh wala naman—hindi naman sa atin— I mean kung talagang objectionable siya, you can make it known to Beijing. But I don’t—I think Ambassador Huang is just doing his job,” he added.

Part of Huang’s job is to continue stating the Chinese narrative in the South China Sea, Marcos said, stressing while both sides don’t agree with such narrative, the Philippines will just continue exerting effort to address the challenges.

Replacing Huang with a new envoy would not change anything, Marcos said, because a replacement would just continue to echo China’s position.

“So, hindi nila ititigil ‘yan (It will not stop). So, we have to — that’s why we have to work around it. We cannot overreact on this. Sasabihin mo, ‘yung iba nga napipikon, sasabihing— hindi naman tungkol sa atin ito, tungkol sa Pilipinas ito. Eh kung magkamali tayo, e di malaking gulo. So, we don’t want to go anywhere near that situation,” Marcos said.

Asked if he wanted (a) different approach than a more assertive China, the President said he is willing to sit for negotiation to resolve the issue.

“Of course, I wish we talked about it over the table as supposed to colliding with each other’s ships in the open sea. Of course, I will prefer the less confrontational method of trying to decide these things. But it is what it is,” he said.

He added that the current thrust of the Philippines is to secure security arrangements with other countries like the arrangement being worked out with Japan to maintain regional stability.

Marcos said he is looking forward to forge such arrangements with other countries to give the Philippines (a) big multiplier effect in terms of boosting its capabilities. (PND)