Pag-asa Island in West Philippine Sea (photo from CSIS/AMTI)

Malacañang awaits positive response from China to President Rodrigo Duterte’s “strongly worded statement” telling Chinese militiamen to leave Pag-asa Island.

Earlier, Duterte warned “friend” China not to touch Pag-asa Island otherwise it will be a different story, he would tell the soldiers to prepare for a suicide mission.

“Well, positive response for them to leave the place,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

According to Panelo, he haven’t heard from the military establishment and even from the DFA whether it has already received a response from the Chinese government.

However, according to Panelo, Duterte will give China “reasonable time to respond to our protest.”

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If Chinese militiamen insist on staying around Pag-asa Island, “we will have to let the President decide what action he will undertake,” says Panelo.