Duterte: China warned PH of war over South China Sea. Photo by ABS-CBN

Duterte: China warned PH of war over South China Sea

“MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday bared that China warned his administration of war if Manila would insist on its ownership of the disputed South China Sea.

Duterte said the Chinese side issued the warning after he expressed the Philippines’ intent to drill oil in the resource-rich waters.

It was unclear who issued the warning and when.  But Duterte said he asserted the Philippines’ right to its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea to Chinese President Xi Jinping.  The president held bilateral talks with Xi on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation last week.

I said, Mr. Xi Jinping, I will insist that it is ours and we will drill oil,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City.

“Sinabi ko talaga harap-harapan, that is ours and we intend to drill oil there. My view is I can drill the oil. Ang sagot sa akin, ‘Well we are friends. We don’t want to quarrel with you. We want to maintain warm relationship, but if you force the issue we will go to war.’”

China’s military is one of the world’s most powerful.

Duterte made this revelation just as representatives from the two sides met Friday in Guiyang, China for inaugural bilateral discussions on the dispute. ” via ABS-CBN News

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