President Rodrigo Duterte doesn’t see the point in questioning China’s militarization activities in the South China Sea because the equipment and infrastructure are already there.
In an ambush interview in Malacañang Wednesday (May 16), Duterte confirmed he was aware of the high-tech military installations that China has erected in the disputed waters.
“There is an airport. There are business there installed. There are military equipment already in place. So what’s the point of questioning whether the planes there land or not. There’s an airstrip. Hindi naman ‘ka ko maglanding ‘yan doon sa bato, maganda ang airstrip nila,” he said.
Duterte said that while he “can declare war on China tonight,” he’s certain the soldiers he will send to fight will all die.
“Sinabi ng — why will I go to war for a battle that I cannot win? Para akong gago. And of course I said, we have to take into account, but it would — I would take a longer time to do that. Pero kung… Busy ako ngayon eh,” he said.
The President blamed his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, anew for failing to stop China when it was just reclaiming land in the South China Sea.
“There was sufficient time for him to stop. Siya ‘yung nag-demanda eh. Eh bakit hindi sila pumunta doon?” he said.
Citing anonymous sources, the United States-based CNBC reported that China already installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on Kagitingan, Zamora, and Panganiban reefs.
The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in the Philippines’ favor and invalidated China’s sweeping claims over the South China Sea on July 12, 2016, when Duterte was already President.