Duterte on China’s militarization of South China Sea: What’s the point in questioning?
President Rodrigo Duterte apparently admitted that there was no point in questioning China's militarization of the South China Sea.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Duterte said he could "declare war with China" but it would only cause the lives of his soldiers and policemen.
"There is an airport. There are businesses 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," he said.
"Why will I go to war for a battle that I cannot win? And of course I said, we have to take into account, but it would --- I would take a longer time to do that," he added.
Duterte indicated that he could not do anything to stop China from further putting up military systems in the South China Sea.
"I will discuss with you geopolitics and why I allow things to just stay there. You can't remove it. Why argue with them?," he said.
He again blamed the Aquino administration for the present situation in the disputed waters.
He said his predecessor should have acted immediately to stop China from reclaiming some of the areas in the South China Sea aside from filing the arbitration case, which the Philippines won.
At the same time, Duterte explained why he did not actually go to the Philippine Rise last Tuesday as what he promised earlier.
"The (Philippine) Navy told me if we will go there, ‘we can't go home within two days. If I use jet ski, I said there is no gasoline there," he said.
Duterte attended the send-off ceremony of Filipino scientists who would conduct a study on the Philippine Rise inside a Navy ship anchored in Casiguran Bay in Aurora, several miles away from the Philippine Rise. Ella Dionisio/DMS