Duterte: Why question China’s WPS actions?
President Duterte on Thursday said there was no use questioning why he had allowed China to land planes and install missiles on artificial islands claimed by the Philippines in the South China Sea.
Explaining his administration’s stand not to “go to war” with China, Mr. Duterte told reporters he would discuss with them geopolitical realities and “why I allow things just to stay” on the contested reefs.
He was asked what he thought of reports that China had landed military transports and fighters in the Philippine-claimed reefs in the Spratlys.
‘Why fight with them’
“There is an airport. There are missiles there installed. There are military equipment already in place. So what’s the point of questioning whether the [Chinese] planes there land or not? There’s an airstrip. They would not land on rocks. They have a good airstrip,” the Presi- dent told reporters.
“You cannot let them leave. Why fight with them?” he said.
To critics who wanted him to “go to war with China,” he told them to go to the disputed areas. He said he was 100 percent sure that the country would lose any battle with China.
“We will declare war against China, provided that those noisy should go first. I will be there behind them. But when we get there, I will leave them behind. It’s up to them. They are the ones who want to fight,” the President said.
But Malacañang insisted that the Philippines had not kept mumon China’s military buildup in the West Philippine Sea—the part of the of South China Sea within the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines already expressed concern over China’s recent activities in the disputed waters in a bilateral meeting held earlier this year.
Quoting Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Roque said the Philippines made use of the bilateral communication mechanism on the South China Sea to convey its take on recent developments.
“They talked about problems in the South China Sea. They discussed the installations of arms and airports in those islands. These were tackled in the bilateral meeting,” he said.
Asked if the Philippines filed a diplomatic protest or used the bilateral meeting to air its concerns, Roque said in a text message: “It was tackled and protests were filed. Both.”