U.S., China willing to work with Duterte

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Presumptive president Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – The United States and China said they are willing to work with the Philippines' next president as Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte cements his lead over his rivals.

"Washington respects the choice of the Philippine people. We gladly work with the leaders they've selected,” U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday (May 11).

While Trudeau did not mention the presumptive president’s name, partial, unofficial results from the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) as of 12:28 p.m. Wednesday, show Duterte leading the race with over 15 million votes.

His closest opponents, Liberal Party's (LP) Manuel "Mar" Roxas II and independent candidate Sen. Grace Poe got only around 9 million and 8 million votes, respectively. Both have conceded defeat.

U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg congratulated the Philippines for its “exercise of democracy” and said he is looking forward to congratulating the elected leaders.

When asked how the U.S. government views Duterte’s controversial promises, including extra-judicial killings to stop crime, Trudeau merely repeated Washington’s willingness to work with the leader Filipinos have elected.

Also read: Duterte: I would be glad to die for the Filipino

Back in the campaign trail, the tough-talking Davao City mayor once dared the United States and Australia to cut diplomatic ties with the Philippines in reaction to strong remarks by Goldberg and Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely against comments made by Duterte on the 1989 rape-slay of an Australian missionary.

Watch: Duterte draws flak for rape 'joke'

“Go ahead and sever it (diplomatic relation). If I become the president, go ahead and sever it,” Duterte said in a campaign rally in Aklan on April 20.

He took back his words days later, blaming the media's leading questions that prompted him to make the statement on cutting diplomatic ties.

China rejects Duterte’s multilateral talks

Meanwhile, China said it hopes the new Philippine government will strengthen the two countries’ bilateral relations.

"China hopes the Philippines' new government can work in the same direction with China, properly handle our differences and get bilateral ties back on track with concrete actions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a press conference on Tuesday (May 10).

Also read: The Hague arguments: Philippine case against China explained

Lu said despite the strained ties between the two countries because of their territorial conflict in the South China Sea, China is optimistic that Beijing and Manila will still be able to adopt practical measures to properly handle the dispute.

However, China rejected Duterte’s call for a multilateral approach that will involve the U.S., Japan and Australia, and countries that have territorial claims in the South China Sea. China insists on a dual track approach in which only states directly concerned in the dispute would be involved in negotiations to settle their disputes, while China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) work together to maintain regional peace and stability.