Manila, Philippine. The people in Asia have a full plate from a US-North Korean nuclear level standoff, now they also have another potential war on the horizon between China and the Philippines.
The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping has now warned him there will be a state of war between the two Asian nations, if Manila trys to enforce an arbitration ruling from the Hague Court and drill for oil in a disputed part of the South China Sea.
With remarks that may infuriate China, Duterte hit back at domestic critics who said he has gone soft on Beijing by refusing to push it to comply with an award last year by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which ruled largely in favor of the Philippines.
The Philippine President Duterte said he discussed it with Xi Jinping when the two met in Beijing on Monday, and got a firm warning that caused his blood to run cold. “We intend to drill oil there, if it’s yours, well, that’s your view, but my view is, I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth, it is ours.” Duterte said.
“His response to me, we’re friends, we don’t want to quarrel with you, we want to maintain the presence of warm relationship, but if you force the issue, we’ll go to war.” Duterte added.
The Hague Court awarded Philippine sovereign rights in its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone to access offshore oil and gas fields, including the Reed Bank, 85 nautical miles off its coast.They also invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim on its maps denoting sovereignty over most of the South China Sea.
President Duterte has a reputation for his candid, at times incendiary, remarks and his office spokesperson often “reshapes” his statements on his behalf and blames the media for distorting his most controversial comments.