PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte says he will walk the extra mile for peace but warns China “it will be bloody” if the militarily-superior Asian neighbor infringes on his country’s territory.
In July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China had breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights by exploring resources in the South China Sea behind the “nine-dash-line”, also blaming Beijing for causing permanent, irreparable harm to Spratlys’ coral reef ecosystem.
President Rodrigo Duterte issued the warning Wednesday in comments on the Philippines’ territorial disputes with China in a speech before troops at an army camp east of Manila.
Duterte said China has been conciliatory and he does not want any fight, but he fears what will happen if peaceful efforts fail.
Duterte said: “I guarantee to them, if you enter here, it will be bloody. And we will not give it to them easily. It will be the bones of our soldiers, you can include mine.”
According to the AFP, Duterte reiterated that he did not want to provoke China with an aggressive response. He said the Philippine government had intended to ease tensions by sending an envoy, but was ready to take harsher approach.
“We will not raise hell now because of the judgement but there will come a time that we will have to do some reckoning about this,” he was quoted saying.
“They (China) better come up with what they really want. Because whether we like it or not, that arbitral judgement would be insisted (on) not only by the Philippines but by the whole countries here in Southeast Asia,” he said.
Additional reporting from the Associated Press