Duterte: China warned the Philippines of war over South China Sea

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2017 07:21 PM | Updated as of May 19 2017 07:48 PM

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony held in Beijing, China October 20, 2016. Ng Han Guan, Reuters (FILE)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday bared that China warned his administration of war if Manila would insist on its ownership of the disputed South China Sea.

Duterte said the Chinese side issued the warning after he expressed the Philippines’ intent to drill oil in the resource-rich waters.

It was unclear who issued the warning and when.

But Duterte said he asserted the Philippines’ right to its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The president held bilateral talks with Xi on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation last week.

“I said, Mr. Xi Jinping, I will insist that it is ours and we will drill oil,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City.

“Sinabi ko talaga harap-harapan, that is ours and we intend to drill oil there. My view is I can drill the oil. Ang sagot sa akin, ‘Well we are friends. We don’t want to quarrel with you. We want to maintain warm relationship, but if you force the issue we will go to war.’”

China’s military is one of the world’s most powerful.

Duterte made this revelation just as representatives from the two sides met Friday in Guiyang, China for inaugural bilateral discussions on the dispute.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China have also finished drafting the framework for the code of conduct in the South China Sea.

The binding code of conduct, which shall replace the non-binding 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, will lay down the rules for all claimant states.

Since assuming the presidency, Duterte has pursued warmer ties with Beijing despite the sea dispute, aiming to boost economic ties with one of the world’s largest economies.

At his debut hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the concluding leaders’ statement was silent on China’s militarization and island-building activities in the South China Sea.

The statement also did not mention the Philippines’ landmark arbitral victory over China, which invalidated Beijing’s sweeping nine-dash line claim over the waters.

Four ASEAN members- the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei- have partial claims in the resource-rich waters, overlapping with China’s sweeping claims.

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One Response to “Duterte: China warned the Philippines of war over South China Sea”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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