PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has issued his strongest statement yet against the Chinese government.
Amid rising tensions over the disputed South China Sea, Mr Duterte warned of a “bloody” confrontation if China crosses into the Philippines’ Economic Exclusive Zone.
“We do not want a quarrel,” he told soldiers at an army camp east of Manila. “I would walk the extra mile to ask for peace for everybody.
“But I am sure and I guarantee to them that if they invade us, it will be bloody and we will not give it to them easily. It will be the bones of our soldiers, you can include mine.
“We will not raise hell now because of the judgement but there will come a time that we will have to do some reckoning about this.”
Rodrigo Duterte has issued his strongest warning yet.
Rodrigo Duterte has issued his strongest warning yet.Source:AP
His more aggressive stance is at odds with statements he made earlier this week, in which he said he prefers to engage China in a diplomatic dialogue rather than say anything confrontational that could anger Chinese officials into calling off possible talks.
Asked if a date had been set for the bilateral talks, Mr Duterte said, “Yes. Nearer than you think. Within the year, maybe.”
An international arbitration tribunal ruled last month that China’s massive territorial claims in the South China Sea based on historical grounds were invalid under a 1982 UN treaty, in a major setback for Beijing, which has ignored the decision.
Aside from China and the Philippines, four other governments are contesting ownership of parts of the South China Sea, a busy passageway for shipping. The region is also believed to sit atop sizeable deposits of gas and oil worth trillions.
South China Sea: China Rebuked By International Arbitration Court (The New York Times, July 12, 2016)
PLAN Guided Missile Destroyer Harbin DDG-112 firing her main guns during exercises with Russia
China’s neighbors have complained about the steady rise of illegal fishing and poaching by Chinese boats. Chinese fishing boats have been detained by the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa and by nations in South America. Some environmentalists say China has over-fished its home waters and must expand through the globe to feed its vast population.
China super dredger Tian Jing Hao — called “The Reef Eater.” China has used dozens of dredges like this to destroy coral reefs in order to build up sandy shoals into islands by reclamation. China has “made its own islands” in the processes — in areas previously claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and others. Now China has built airfields and military bases on these “artificial islands.”