Duterte ‘not satisfied’ with Xi response on Hague ruling
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte admitted Wednesday he was “not satisfied” with the response of Chinese President Xi Jinping who insisted China’s sovereign rights in almost all of the South China Sea.
“Out of courtesy, I said: ‘I will not maybe insist on your answer now. I am not satisfied with your answer, but I will not ask for any other answer. I’ll just remain where I am, where I started, considering that you are under stress by the incidents dito sa Hong Kong,’” the President recalled telling Xi.
But he said Xi did not budge and maintained his country’s so-called nine-dash line claims in the South China Sea.
“He said: ‘You know, our statement was we will not budge. No more. We no longer want to talk about that. We own the property. Why should we talk to you?’ He said something like that, but almost in a whisper,” the President, speaking partly in Filipino, said, quoting Xi.
The President and Xi had a bilateral meeting on Aug. 29 in Beijing where they tackled the long-standing maritime dispute in the South China Sea.
“It’s not easy to have a tiff, a controversy with your neighbor,” the President said.
He pointed out that China was more superior in its arms than the Philippines.
“That‘s the plain truth there,” he said. “Might is right.”
“I cannot make war. Filipinos will just dwindle. The truth is I won’t dare fight because we’re not capable. I have to be frank with the Filipino. We’re not capable. And it’s not good to go to war,” he said.
He said he asked Xi how to solve the sea row peacefully.
“I said: ‘I have yet to reiterate because your response was we will do it peacefully. And I agreed. Now I am asking you, how do we talk and solve the problem peacefully?’,” he said.
He recalled telling Xi that the maritime dispute “will remain a problem.”
“It will be a, you know, thorn. Just like a sore thumb that sticks out painfully every day,” he said.
Asked about the Philippines’ next move, Duterte said: “Quo vadis, Philippines? Quo vadis?”
“If I go to war, you must all agree with me that we will go to war because you know, it will be the end of our civilization. You just tell me. If we go to war, we go to war. If we die, we’ll all die,” he added.
He again dared the United States, a longtime Philippine ally, if it could help.
The President said: “It’s easy to say you enforce maritime laws… but [China] is claiming it as their historical right and they have control over the property.”
“Now, can America save us? Is America ready to go to war?” he said.
“I don’t know if there was any member of Congress present there when Xi Jinping said ‘We will not budge.’ So what’s the next? Your question is as good as mine. What will we do? What is the next step? Seize the property? By what means? On bended knees?” he added.
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