Philippines' Duterte: China threatened 'war' over sea row





Manila (AFP) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday China's leaders told him they were prepared to go to war over competing claims in the South China Sea.

Duterte, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing this week, said he was making the threat public in response to domestic criticism he was being too weak with China over the dispute.

"I really said it to their face. That is ours and we intend to drill oil there," Duterte said, revealing his previously unreported plans to explore for natural resources in disputed areas.

"And they told me: 'Well, we're friends. We do not want to quarrel with you. We want to maintain the present warm relationship. But if you force the issue we'll go to war.'"

The competing claims to the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits, have for decades made it one of Asia's potential military flashpoints.

China claims most of the sea, a key waterway for global shipping, and has reclaimed disputed reefs and installed military facilities on them.

Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

An international tribunal ruled in July last year that China's claims to most of the sea were without legal basis, in a case filed by the Philippines under Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino.

But China vowed to ignore the ruling and warned the Philippines against trying to use the verdict as leverage.

Duterte, who began his six-year term in June last year, agreed to take a soft stance with China, claiming that if he did it might lead to war.

Duterte has also sought closer ties with China to win billions of dollars of Chinese investments and loans, while loosening the Philippines' long-standing alliance with the United States.

That change of tack earned Duterte a state visit to China in October last year, when he met with Xi.

Duterte returned to China this week to take part in a summit on a Chinese plan to expand its trade and infrastructure links around the world.

On his return to Manila on Tuesday Duterte said he was open to exploring the sea's natural resources with China and Vietnam, but did not mention the other claimants.

Duterte also reiterated on Tuesday he had no immediate plans to pressure Beijing over the arbitral tribunal's ruling.

COMMENTS

More Related News

White House Says Trump Doesn't Really Think He Should Have Left the UCLA Players in Jail
White House Says Trump Doesn't Really Think He Should Have Left the UCLA Players in Jail

He tweeted that sentiment on Sunday

China draws three-stage path for Myanmar, Bangladesh to resolve Rohingya crisis
China draws three-stage path for Myanmar, Bangladesh to resolve Rohingya crisis
  • World
  • 2017-11-20 05:22:26Z

By Yimou Lee NAYPYITAW (Reuters) - China has proposed a three-phase plan for resolving the Rohingya crisis, starting with a ceasefire in Myanmar's Rakhine State so that refugees can return from Bangladesh, China's Foreign Ministry said ahead of meeting of European and Asian officials in Myanmar

Trump Upset After UCLA Player's Dad Says He Didn't Help Them in China: 'I Should Have Left Them in Jail'
Trump Upset After UCLA Player's Dad Says He Didn't Help Them in China: 'I Should Have Left Them in Jail'

Trump tweeted out his response Sunday.

Trump says he should have left UCLA players in jail in China
Trump says he should have left UCLA players in jail in China
  • US
  • 2017-11-19 18:33:39Z

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Sunday he should have left in jail the three UCLA basketball players who had been detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting after the father of one of the players questioned Trump's role in their release. "Now that the three basketball players

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.