MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte talked tough about South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) during a media interview in Malacañang, Wednesday, May 16.
The President said it is pointless to question China’s military buildup in the disputed territory because infrastructures and defense equipment are already in place.
“There is an airport. There are businesses installed. There are military equipment already in place so what’s the point of questioning whether the planes there land or not? There’s an airstrip. Hindi naman mag-landing iyan doon sa bato. Maganda ang airstrip nila,” the President said.
Mr. Duterte said that even though he can declare war with China, he is not willing to risk his men in a “winless” battle.
“I can declare war on China tonight. At sino ang magpunta? Sundalo ko? Pulis ko? Mamatay lang lahat iyan. Why will I go to war for a battle that I cannot win? Para akong g***,” he said.
President Duterte said he is willing to discuss why he allow ”things to just stay there” but not at this time. Still, he reiterated that it is useless to fight China when it is impossible to dismantle the structures in the area.
“We have to take into account, but it would take a longer time to do that. Pero kung… Busy ako ngayon. I will discuss with you geopolitics and why I allow things to just stay there. Hindi mo na rin mapaalis. Bakit mo awayin?” the President said.
Mr. Duterte blamed the Aquino administration for not taking action despite filing and winning the Arbitration case against China.
“There was sufficient time for him to stop. Siya iyong nag-demanda. Bakit hindi sila pumunta doon?” he said.
The UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines’s claim to exclusive sovereign rights over the South China Sea. The decision was announced on July 12, 2016, days after President Duterte assumed presidency.
Despite justifying diplomacy with China, President Duterte vowed to insist the arbitral ruling during his term.
“In front of my entire Cabinet, I said that during my term I will insist and mention arbitral ruling,” the President assured. – Marje Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue