The threat of President Rodrigo Duterte that war would erupt if foreign incursions happen at the Philippine Rise was actually not directed at China, Malacañang clarified on Thursday.
In a speech before the troops in Marawi City on Wednesday, Duterte warned that war would erupt should any foreign country conduct activities in the Philippine Rise without the government’s permission.
Duterte’s threat came weeks after he ordered the Philippine Navy to open fire on foreign poachers found inside the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“The President’s statement that incursions in the Philippine Rise would trigger war is not directed at China,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
China, Roque said, “has already recognized that we have sovereign rights over the area.”
“The President is firm in his stance that any country that wishes to conduct research or any other study in the Philippine Rise would first need to secure the approval of the Philippine government through the National Security Adviser,” he said. /jpv
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