Duterte: ‘War is a dirty word’
“War is a dirty word.”
So said presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as he reiterated his stand not to wage war with China amid the Philippines’ ongoing maritime dispute with it over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“We cannot fight with anybody, including China. Instead of provoking peace, I will not go to war and I will not commit the lives of the Filipino soldiers there,” Duterte told reporters at a campaign sortie in Laguna on Friday.
If elected in the May elections, he said he would let China know that the Philippines’ “stand is very consistent” in asserting its territorial rights over the resource-rich West Philippine Sea.
“Let them know that our stand is very consistent and it cannot change forever,” he said.
He reiterated that the Philippines could not afford to go to war with China.
“Bakit tayo magkagiyera wala naman tayong laban (Why will we go to war when we are no match to them)? We are a small country. We must be honest to admit, we are under-armed,” he said.
But if the worst comes to worst, and China wages war against the Philippines, he said he would immediately call on the United States for help.
“If there is trouble, I will call the United States, (and ask them) ‘are you with us?’” he said.
But the tough-talking mayor has always said that the Philippines’ maritime dispute with China must be resolved peacefully.
He has expressed his support for the country’s ongoing case at the United Nation’s International Tribunal on the Laws of the Seas (Itlos).
In previous speeches, he also said that he was open to bilateral talks with China and even a joint exploration over the gas-rich waterway. IDL
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