Duterte renews Xi warning: PH exploring oil in WPS spells trouble
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has again brought up the warning of Chinese President Xi Jinping that “trouble” would erupt if the Philippines would undertake oil explorations in the West Philippines Sea.
Beijing has a sweeping claims in the resource-rich South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte again narrated his conversation with Xi during his first bilateral meeting with the Chinese leader in Beijing in October 2016.
“Sabi ko, ‘I’m going there to dig oil.’ Ang sagot ni Xi Jinping in whisper, tanungin mo sila, ‘Alam mo, Mayor Duterte, we just restored our friendship. It was not good for a number of years. Pero huwag na muna tayong pag-usapan.’ Sabi niya, ‘Let’s talk about helping each other, trade, commerce, investment, China can help,’” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang on Thursday night.
He said he insisted to Xi that the Philippines would dig oil in the gas-rich West Philippines but Xi warned of trouble if Duterte would push through with his plan.
“No, no, balik ako sabi ko, ‘I want my oil because that is ours there.’ And he said, ‘No, because you know that could mean trouble,’” he added.
In May 2017, Duterte first revealed that Xi had threatened war if the Philippines would insist its claims in the South China Sea.
Duterte also earlier said he was willing to “declare war” with China over its continued reclamation and militarization in the dipsuted sea but he said it would be a losing endeavor.
Duterte, who has fostered warmer ties with China compared to his predecesssor former President Benigno Aquino III, has received criticisms for his failure to enforce the July 2016 Hague ruling.
The Philippines sealed a historic win against China before the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal in The Hague in July 2016, which invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims to almost all of the South China Sea.
But China has repeatedly refused to recognize the ruling. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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