South China Sea: Philippines’ strongest warning yet to China

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Gavin Fernando
news.com.au

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has issued his strongest statement yet against the Chinese government.

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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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.

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Asked if a date had been set for the bilateral talks, Mr Duterte said, “Yes. Nearer than you think. Within the year, maybe.”

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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.

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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.

http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/philippines-strongest-warning-yet-to-china/news-story/2819d0e2a1fea9ce3cb9e09acc3491ca

Related:

 (The New York Times, July 12, 2016)

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In this photo released by the Office of the City Mayor of Davao City, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, right, receives a copy of the book on Chinese President Xi Jinping from Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua during a courtesy call in Davao City in the southern Philippines, Monday, May 16, 2016. Office of the City Mayor Davao City via AP, file
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PLAN Guided Missile Destroyer Harbin DDG-112 firing her main guns during exercises with Russia

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A Chinese HQ-9 Air Defense System like this one was deployed to Woody Island after Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry he would refrain from “militarizing” the South China Sea.

Chinese J-11 fighters have practiced deployments to the China-claimed articial islands in the South China Sea

More than half of the world’s annual merchant fleet tonnage passes through the South China Sea.  Almost all of Japan’s oil comes through the Indian Ocean and  South China Sea.

Vietnamese fishing boat Dna 90152 sinking in the South China Sea May 2014 after being rammed intentionally by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel

Viet Nam Fisherman Bui Tan Doan suffered a broken leg June 7 2015 when a Chinese ship landed armed men on his fishing boat to intemidate the Vietnamese sailors into leaving their traditional South China Sea fishing grounds

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.”

 

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