DESPITE the kinks in relations as a result of their maritime disputes, China and the Philippines have agreed to work out an anti-narcotics plan of action to address the trafficking and proliferation of illegal drugs.
In a statement released on Tuesday, China said it was ready to work out a specific plan with the Philippines in curbing the proliferation of drugs here.
“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,” Chinese Embassy in Manila spokesman Lingxiao Li said.
Li’s statement came after President Rodrigo Duterte blamed China over some of its officials’ alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
Li said China fully understood that Duterte had already made a pronouncement that he would give priority to the efforts to crack down on drug-related crimes.
“When I come face to face with them, I will tell them all that is bothering me,” Duterte said in Filipino at a gathering of his San Beda College of Law classmates in Malacañang.
Duterte recently accused five police generals of protecting three big-time Chinese-Filipino drug lords.
At the Palace, he also noted that four Hong Kong nationals were arrested when police raided “floating shabu laboratories” in the waters off Subic.
Li said China had a shared responsibility to fight all drug-related crimes.
“Illicit drugs are a common enemy of the mankind. Fighting against all drug-related crimes is a shared responsibility of all countries in the world,” Li said.
He denied the accusations against China and stressed that, in fact, the Chinese government had been firm in its efforts to punish all criminals.
“The Chinese government has been firm and severe in drug control and in punishing all drug criminals in accordance with the laws regardless their nationalities,” Li said.
On Monday, former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan said the illegal drug trade in the Philippines was now a national crisis, and that the government and the public must understand it to know what they were up against.
“This is national security crisis and we better understand what we are up against so we can do something about it,” Alunan said in a forum. Sara Susanne D. Fabunan