Duterte: I am not afraid of China

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte: I am not afraid of China
Takot ako na baka walang kalaban-laban tayo at baka tayo ang maubos (I’m not afraid of China. I am afraid that we might turn out to be helpless and just get wiped out),” the President said.

MANILA, Philippines — As he prepared to depart yesterday for Thailand for a summit with Southeast Asian leaders, President Duterte rebuffed critics of his handling of the Recto Bank incident, saying it’s not China that he’s afraid of but the prospect of the Asian power wiping out Philippine forces in the event of armed conflict.

“That is an open confrontation, magkabarilan pa (there would be a gun battle). Hindi ako takot sa China. Takot ako na baka walang kalaban-laban tayo at baka tayo ang maubos (I’m not afraid of China. I am afraid that we might turn out to be helpless and just get wiped out),” the President said.

“America has the right to interfere if it becomes a bloody confrontation,” he added.

Duterte, accused by critics of being too soft on China on the Recto Bank incident, said any country could claim ownership of the sea and restrict access to it. Since China claims ownership of an ocean, nobody can prevent the United States from claiming a third of the Pacific Ocean, he added.

“Now I am thinking of claiming the Sulu Sea as ours. Do not pass through it without seeking permission from me. And I won’t mind if America would claim the whole of the Pacific, and the Australian would claim all. That is the danger, that’s what I want to say,” the President said at the oath taking of newly elected local officials in Davao City. Sulu Sea is part of the Philippines.

The President will be in Thailand until tomorrow.

Before his departure, President Duterte named Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra as officer-in-charge of the executive department.

“My question to China is, we’re friends. But you know… China you drew a line that is really close to the coastline of the Vietnamese, Malaysia, Brunei. What I say is, is it correct for China to declare ownership of an ocean? I am the moderator of China in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). But I’m posing this question: can you claim ownership of the ocean?” he added.

Duterte also expressed belief that the sinking of a Filipino boat near the Recto Bank is not an attack on Philippine sovereignty.

“The problem with China is it drew the nine-dash line. The line was near our coastal waters. Remember that the incident in Recto, it was not a matter of sovereignty. It was 12 miles and that is part of our territory as a republic. Beyond that, what was given to us is the exclusive economic zone,” the President said.

“It is not an attack on our sovereignty. Malayo ’yan (It’s too far). Sovereignty is the republic. If you attack that, then there’s going to be war,” he added.

Duterte, who previously downplayed the Recto Bank incident as a “little maritime accident,” stressed he would not send Navy ships to the area.

“Can you counter the missile of China? My Marines would already be wiped out moments after they leave Palawan. I will not do that,” he said.

The President also pointed out that the US Congress has to concur with a declaration of war in the event that the Philippines invokes the Mutual Defense Treaty

“They will go to war, only the (US) President say so, and Congress will give its concurrence. Other than that, nothing,” Duterte said. 

He said it would now be up to the Marine board of inquiry to handle the Recto Bank incident. He said the incident would be under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard if it involves a private vessel.

“For the military, for the police, and for everybody. The collision of the ships, that is a maritime incident or accident. It’s like a collision in the highway. It is not a confrontation of armed men and machines or ships. Nobody died,” Duterte said.

vuukle comment




  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with