- - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

After winning a United Nations tribunal ruling last year over the South China Sea,  Philippine President Duterte promptly made friends with China and Russia in an afront to the United States and Obama, due to U.S. criticism over Duterte’s war on drug dealers and other human rights issues. It seems this newfound lovefest between the two South Asian nations is built on shaky ground as China threatened the Philippines with war if they drill in the South China Sea as threatened by Duterte during a recent meeting.  

During the last presidential campaign, Duterte had this to say about Chinese claims of sovereignty, “I will ride a jet ski and plant the Philippine flag there in their port.” It seems the bravado has gone the way of the Philippine armed forces who retreated from a brief occupation of the Spratly Islands in the face of Chinese military power.  

While speaking at the National Convention of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary in Davao City, Duterte outlined the following exchange between him and Chinese President Xi, reported RT.

“I really said, ‘It’s ours. I’d like you to listen for a while.’ I said, ‘Mr. Xi Jinping, I would insist that that is ours and I will drill oil there,’ ” Duterte said.

“[Xi Jinping] replied to me, ‘We are friends. We do not want to quarrel with you… We want to maintain the present warm relationship. But if you force the issue, we’ll go to war,’ ” Duterte said. “What more could I say?”

In addition to air defense radars, missile launchers and fighter jets being deployed in the disputed areas on recently constructed airstrips, Chinese early warning aircraft have been spotted in the region.

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