Go to war with China over West PH Sea? It will be a ‘massacre’, says Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will be massacred if it goes to war with China over the West Philippine Sea issue, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday.
In his last State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte said that the Philippines cannot go to war against China as critics slammed the president over his previous remarks regarding the West Philippine Sea territory issue.
Duterte, once again, downplayed the victory of the Philippines over China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague back in 2016. To recall, the president previously called the victory a “piece of paper” and likened it to trash to be thrown away.
“What will I do with a document that is not binding? China, because they were never a part of that arbitration. There was really no arbitration at all, because it was only the Philippine side,” Duterte said.
“You know, I do not want to insult these people pushing me for something more than what I can handle,” he added.
Duterte then proceeded to say that the Philippines will be “massacred” if it goes to war with China over the issue.
“Do you want war against China? I’ll tell you, even on the coast beach of Palawan, before you can take off, the missile of China would be there in about five or 10 minutes. It would be a massacre if I go and fight a war now. We are not yet a competent and able enemy of the other side,” Duterte said.
In 2013, the Philippines under the Aquino administration challenged in the Hague court China’s claim that it owned more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, which includes waters in Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and Vietnam.
In 2016, two weeks after Duterte assumed office, the tribunal ruled that China’s claim had no basis in international law and that it had violated the Philippines’ sovereign right to fish and explore resources in the West Philippine Sea, the waters within the country’s 370-km exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.
China has consistently refused to acknowledge the 2016 ruling.
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