• President Rodrigo Duterte said that as stated by the international arbitral tribunal’s ruling in The Hauge, Netherlands, China cannot continue fending off the country’s victorious claim on the West Philippine Sea
  • The President warned that if the Philippines and China “cannot understand each other,” he will have no choice but to ensure the country is ready to defend its sovereign rights
  • The South Asian countries involved in the maritime dispute are Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, August 24 said that China cannot continue fending off the country’s victorious claim on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as stated by the international arbitral tribunal’s ruling in The Hauge, Netherlands.

The President warned that if the Philippines and China “cannot understand each other,” he will have no choice but to ensure the country is ready to defend its sovereign rights.

“I’m afraid if we cannot understand each other, we have to pray for that. I guarantee to them kung kayo pumasok dito (if you enter here), it will be bloody. And we will not give it to them easily,” he said. This was Duterte‘s most provoking statement to China from the start of his administration.

“I hope China is dealing with us in good faith. But we are not insisting on the arbitral judgement….They better come up with what they want. Because whether we like it or not, that arbitral judgement will be insisted not only by the Philippines but by the whole countries here in Southeast Asia,” the President continued.

President Duterte made the statement at Camp General Mateo Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal, while addressing the soldiers.

But Duterte on his address also stated that the Philippines will not mindlessly call upon the arbitration judgment since the country’s military force do not have enough strength to break into war.

“We will not raise hell now because of the judgment, but there will come a time that we have to do some reckoning about this,” he said.

The South Asian countries involved in the maritime dispute as mentioned by Duterte were Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia, which he announced two weeks before the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Laos.

According to the President, he does not plan to bring up the issue regarding the maritime dispute unless another country starts to dig in through the issue.