Philippine Daily Inquirer
PH can invade China in 4001, jokes Duterte
President Duterte is adamant that a war over disputed features in the West Philippine Sea is impossible at this time, but jests that the Philippines might be in a position to invade China after two thousand years.
In a speech during the 117th anniversary rites of the Office of the Solicitor General in Pasay City on Tuesday night, the President reiterated that going to war with China would only result in a massacre of Filipino troops.
“I’m playing with cards, I can do nothing about China, so let’s set it aside. But in the year 4001, we’re tough by then, let’s invade China and get oil [in the West Philippine Sea],” he said in Filipino.
Beijing’s sweeping claims
The Philippines is entangled in a territorial dispute with China over isles and reefs in the area, despite an international court’s ruling rejecting Beijing’s sweeping claims.
The President has repeat- edly said he would not take aggressive steps against China.
“What can I do about China? At this time, none. Aggression? Impossible. It will be a massacre. Before I can launch a plane, it will already be targeted. We have no capability. We have to admit that we cannot launch a war with China,” Mr. Duterte said.
Even a few shots
He added that the Philippines would not dare fire even a few shots.
“If I start to make trouble there by just firing a few shots, it will grow into something big which might not really be good for us,” he said.
Recalling his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Mr. Duterte said he bared his plans to “dig [for] oil” in the West Philippine Sea. But Xi told him they should focus instead on cooperative ventures such as joint oil exploration.
Mr. Duterte said he would still consult Congress on the legality of the proposed cooperative ventures.