On April 19, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he was about to send military ships to “make a claim” on oil and mineral resources in the South China Sea, but noted that challenging Beijing in Disputed waters will only lead to violence.
Embed from Getty Images
“If we go there to assert our jurisdiction, it could lead to bloodshed,” Duterte said in a brief meeting on television late Monday. This was his first statement after hundreds of Chinese ships were discovered near Ba Dau rock in March.
“Now I don’t have much interest in fishing. I don’t think there are enough fish for us to argue. “, he said, adding that if marine resource disputes happen in the future, he will dispatch “Five cruisers and they can chase … They can play with each other and see who is faster.”
“But when we start mining, when we start getting anything in the seabed, our oil… at that point, I’ll send my gray ships there to make love book,” he said, referring to the Philippine Navy ship.
“If they [Trung Quốc] start drilling there, I’ll tell China, is that part of our deal? If that wasn’t part of our deal, I would drill oil there, too, ” he said. “If they get the oil, that will be the time when we should act.”
Since taking power in 2016, Mr. Duterte has sought to build an alliance with China and is reluctant to confront Beijing. He has been promised billions of dollars in investment loans, though much of it has yet to come to fruition.
He has repeatedly said that the Philippines was “powerless” to stop China and that defying its activities could lead to a war that his country would lose.
The Philippines has filed some diplomatic protests against China sending hundreds of marine militia ships to Ba Dau beach in the South China Sea. However, China says that these are just “fishing boats” that are “avoiding the wind” at China’s “traditional fishing ground for thousands of years”.
Gia Huy (Reuters)