U.S. Secretary of State to meet with Duterte in PH

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Prior to Kerry’s scheduled visit, a U.S. Congressional delegation met with Duterte. A U.S. senator said Duterte told the delegation the Philippines will not trade its territorial rights with China in the South China Sea dispute.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the Philippines next week for talks with President Rodrigo Duterte and Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay.

Kerry will discuss "the full range" of U.S. cooperation with the new Duterte administration, Mark Toner, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson, said in a statement Wednesday.

Kerry’s July 26-27 visit comes two weeks after the Philippines won a historic case against China’s claims to virtually all of the South China Sea. Washington is Manila’s strongest and oldest security ally.

Duterte earlier met with a U.S. congressional delegation accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg on Tuesday in Malacañang.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy posted on his Twitter page that Duterte “assured [the U.S. officials] he has no plans to negotiate with China” over the South China Sea dispute.

He said Duterte told them that the Philippines will not trade its territorial rights with China and that the July 12 decision of the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague is “non-negotiable.”

The Office of the Presidential Spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday that the Philippines will pursue diplomacy to fully realize its rights to its exclusive economic zone according to the ruling of the arbitral court.

It said Manila will engage Beijing in bilateral talks “to find mutually acceptable arrangements” and will also consult its regional allies.

“We consider our sovereign economic rights, granted by the Law of Nations to be non-negotiable,” the statement said. “Engagement with China through bilateral talks towards the peaceful resolution of the issue must be compliant with the Constitution, International Law and the rule of law.”

Also read: DFA chief: PH rejects China offer of conditional dialogue on South China Sea dispute

Before heading to Manila, Kerry is scheduled to visit Vientiane, Laos, from July 25 to 26 to attend meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“At these ASEAN meetings the Secretary will discuss the region’s security architecture and shared transnational challenges including maritime security, Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the South China Sea,” Toner said.