China today extended its backing to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's violent campaign against drug smugglers, days after the maverick Philippino leader threatened to end its military alliance with the US. China supports Duterte's campaign against drugs and is willing to strengthen cooperation with the Philippines in this area, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media here. Calling narcotics "an enemy of mankind," he said combating drug crimes is a responsibility shared by all countries. His comments came as Duterte, who abused US President Barack Obama for criticising his campaign against drugs in which over 2,000 people were killed, is set to visit China from October 18 to 21 for talks with Chinese leaders on the disputed South China Sea. His visit was seen as a major diplomatic victory for China after an international tribunal arbitrating on the Philippines petition in July quashed China's claims over almost all of the South China Sea. Geng said China was committed to eliminating drug-related crimes and the nation has been actively engaged in international cooperation in this regard. "President Duterte will also be engaged in activities related to drug control during his state visit to China. China and the Philippines are keeping in close touch about this," Geng said. Duterte recently questioned the importance of a defence treaty and joint combat exercises with the US, saying they only benefit America. The drug control departments in both countries have begun to discuss cooperation, with results likely to be released soon, he said. Duterte is waging a war against "narco-politics" in the Philippines, saying about four million Filipinos are into illegal drugs.
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