Duterte dares U.S. to fight China over West Philippine Sea dispute

  • Page Views 1756
  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte challenged the United States to prepare its naval fleet to confront China amid Philippines’ territorial row with China in the West Philippine Sea, also known as South China Sea.

    Duterte made the dare on July 17, saying in an interview: “I’m calling now America. I’m invoking the RP-US pact.”

    “I would like America to gather all their Seventh Fleet in front of China. I’m asking them now. I will join them,” Duterte said.

    The Philippines and the U.S> have a 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT). The pact allows either parties to assist the other in the event of attacks on its metropolitan territory, island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.

    The U.S. has affirmed that the scope of coverage includes the South China Sea. However, the U.S. has also declared that it does not take sides in territorial disputes there.

    It was the second time that Duterte has said that he is invoking the MDT.

    The Seventh Fleet, part of the US Pacific Fleet, is stationed in Japan.

    The Philippine president said he would join the US forces in challenging China.

    “I will ride on the boat where [the] admiral of the US [is]. But I will drag along this Carpio and the rest, Albert. When the Americans say, ‘We’re here now, ready,’ I will press it,” Duterte said.

    He was referring to Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, who have criticized his policy on the West Philippine Sea.

    Duterte, however, warned that a shooting war would devastate Palawan.

    “Maybe that would be the end of Palawan. Palawan may be devastated, maybe occupied or if there will be nuclear bombs, it will dry up. So nothing will grow here, we can just wait, just like a big hole coming our way, to suck us to eternity,” he said.

    Duterte’s statement came days after he told The Manila Times that he was ready to join the US should the country’s long-time ally declare war with China to stop its intrusion in the West Philippine Sea.

    Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez said the two countries were in talks to “strengthen” the decades-old treaty and that this might be taken up in a scheduled meeting in September.

    Washington’s top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, previously vowed that US would secure and defend the Philippines in case of an attack.

    Suggestions to invoke the MDT arose over the sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel near the Recto Bank last June.

    Duterte had repeatedly said that the Philippines has no capability to go to war with China or enforce the ruling of a United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal dismissing China’s claims in the disputed sea based on its nine-dash line policy.

    “I’ve been frank; I cannot win a war with China. Pero kung gustuhin nila (But if they want to), I’m putting China on advice, I’m awaiting word from the United States that if they’re willing to go to war to drive you, then I will do it,” Duterte said.

    The President earlier dared the U.S. to “fire the first shot” at the Chinese in the disputed waters.

    Since assuming the presidency, Duterte had sought to downplay Manila’s maritime dispute with Beijing in exchange for improved ties with the world’s second largest economy.

    Duterte’s invocation of the Philippines-U.S. accord came after officials from both nations wrapped up their two-day “strategic dialogue” on July 16, covering issues such as defence, security, development and global diplomatic engagement.

    “Both sides recognised the importance of a strong Philippines-US alliance in enhancing security cooperation and promoting regional stability and security,” a joint statement issued after the meeting said.

    “Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to uphold freedom of navigation, overflight and other lawful uses of the South China Sea, and stressed the importance of peacefully resolving disputes in accordance with international law, as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention,” it added.

    In the television interview, Duterte insisted that while Beijing had permission to fish in the areas claimed by Manila in the resource-rich waterway, the Philippines was still the “owner” of the West Philippine Sea – as it is known in the country.

    “As far as I’m concerned, I am the owner, and I’m just giving the fishing rights,” Duterte said.

    “We filed a case for arbitration actually, and we won,” said Duterte, adding that despite the ruling, China continued claiming rights over the territory.

    China recently acknowledged its fishing vessel hit a Philippine boat in the disputed South China Sea, in an incident that prompted an outcry in the Philippines.

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 22 February 2024
      4 days ago No comment

      Canada to open Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office in Manila

      Canada is opening its new Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office (IPAAO) in the Philippines. The IPAAO is expected to be inaugurated in Manila in February 2024 in a development coinciding with this year’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The ...

    • 15 February 2024
      2 weeks ago No comment

      Canada, Philippines ranked in global corruption index

      February 16, 2024 — Transparency International has released its latest Corruption Perception Index, which scores 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public-sector corruption. The Berlin-based anti-corruption group’s 2023 CPI scores 180 countries and territories, using a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 being very clean ...

    • 08 February 2024
      3 weeks ago No comment

      Marcos-Duterte alliance splinters

      The rift between Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, has taken a turn for the worse. Philippine political analysts say in media reports that this may be end of the political alliance that swept Marcos Jr. to the presidency and Duterte’s daughter Sara as ...

    • 25 January 2024
      1 month ago No comment

      Tara na!: Filipinos go for Pierre Poilievre

      VANCOUVER – Members of the Filipino community showed their all-out support to the Conservative Party of Canada as their leader, Pierre Poilievre, held a meet and greet last January 22 at the Holiday Inn Vancouver-Centre. Several Conservative MPs accompanied Poilievre as he talked about the latest issues and problems ...

    • 23 January 2024
      1 month ago No comment

      Rewind’ breaks domestic box office records

      MANILA — The 49th Metro Manila Film Fest entry “Rewind” is now the highest-grossing Filipino film in terms of domestic box office sales, amassing P815-million as of January 17. This surpasses the local box office records set by “Hello, Love, Goodbye” in 2019 and “The Hows of Us” in ...

    %d bloggers like this: