Philippine Daily Inquirer

PH can in­vade China in 4001, jokes Duterte

- By Julie M. Aure­lio @JMAure­lioINQ

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.

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