Duterte hits out at China over “nasty” words
President Rodrigo Duterte has called out China for shooing away a Philippine military aircraft over the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), according to the Manila Times Online report on Saturday.
Speaking at a convention in Davao City on Friday night, the president said the Philippines was a “friend” who does not deserve “nasty words” over the sea dispute.
“You know very well that we will not attack anybody there. And we are a claimant of the group of islands. I told you we are not prepared to go to war with you, so why do you have to say those nasty words? We are you friend,” he said.
Duterte also maintained that China cannot unilaterally build artificial islands in the South China Sea and claim sovereignty over the area.
On Tuesday, the president called on China to “temper” its behavior in the South China Sea amid reports that it had warned ships and aircraft against getting too close to their islands.
China rebuffed Duterte’s rare criticisms, with its Foreign Ministry saying on Friday that the Spratly Islands were China’s inherent territory and that China respects the right to freedom of navigation and overflight that all countries envoy in the South China Sea under international law.
Also on Friday, Duterte hit out at the United States for warning against Manila buying submarines from Russia, when it didn’t even bother to give one to the Philippines.
He dared any US representative to “meet me in a forum and I will invite everybody interested. You state your case why you are against my country acquiring submarines.”