Duterte: There will be reckoning over South China Sea ruling

Christina Mendez (Philstar.com) - August 24, 2016 - 8:05pm
MANILA, Philippines -- President Rodrigo Duterte vowed on Wednesday that it will be a bloody war if China will insist on trampling on the sovereign rights of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte added there will be a time of reckoning when the Philippines will invoke a UN arbitration tribunal's ruling in the maritime dispute in the West Philippines, the part of the South China Sea that Manila claims. 
But Duterte was quick to say that the Philippines will not be aggressive in invoking the arbitration judgment because the military lacks the strength to wage war.
“We will not raise hell now because of the judgment, but there will come a time that we have to do some reckoning about this,” he said.
He said he was angry against "whoever" took Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines.
"Yung kumuha ng Scarborough yun ang gusto ko upakan (I want to hit the one who took Scarborough)," Duterte said, at times switching to Filipino from English, saying China is eavesdropping on his speech. 

'Act in good faith'

For now, the president called on Beijing to show good faith to foster good relations with the Philippines.
“I hope China is dealing with us in good faith. They seem to be conciliatory. We’re not insisting on [the] arbitral judgment, I know they’re listening to us now , they can monitor us through satellite,” he said.
“But they better come up  with what they really want (to happen). Because whether we like it or not, that arbitral judgment would be insisted [on], not only by the Philippines but the whole countries here in Southeast Asia,” Duterte said at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal.
Duterte  warned that he will wage war --a bloody one-- if China will insist on asserting its ownership of Scarborough Shoal, also called Bajo de Masinloc, which is part of the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone.
“I am sure... I guarantee to them, kung kayo pumasok dito …it will be bloody. And we will not give it to them easily. It will be the bones of our soldiers pati na sa akin, isali ninyo,” he said.
Duterte, in a debate during the election campaign, said he would take a jet ski to the disputed parts of the South China Sea while flying the Philippine flag.
The president has been known to make statements that he or his spokespersons later say were meant in jest or were taken out of context.

'Philippines will chart own course'

“We’ll not allow any country to bamboozle (us) We’ll not allow it,” Duterte said.
He noted that other claimant countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei might also use the UN ruling to further assert their rights in areas where they have conflict with China.
Even the United States, which is an ally, would definitely prod the Philippines to use the UN ruling to bolster its claim, the president added.
“Ang Amerika, gagamitin tayo ng Amerika. 'Ikaw nanalo diyan, you insist on it.' but we will chart our own course to the national interest of this country,” he said.
Duterte threw the challenge to Beijing, which has offered the country help in building rehabilitation centers in military camps and even boost the firearms capability of the Philippine National Police. 
PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa has been invited to China, the president noted.
“The problem is what about us? What about the issue between us? We will not raise hell now because of the judgment but there will come a time that we have to do some reckoning about this. Matatamaan pa tayo lahat because we have to prepare... I said I would intend before I go on its… three to five six years,” he added,
To prepare the AFP, Duterte promised to modernize the military.
“We have to just have to spruce up your arms and your training and everything. We’ll take in more men so we can defend our motherland. We do not want a quarrel. I would walk the extra mile to ask for peace for everybody,” he added.

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