Duterte admits he's "inutile" vs China's "possession" of South China Sea
President Rodrigo Duterte admitted on Monday that he cannot do anything to fight China over its "possession" of the South China Sea where it built artificial islands.
In his fifth State of the Nation Address, Duterte said he is "useless."
"Now, plenty of critics, both sides, claim about nothing has been done to retake forcefully or physically the South China Sea," he said.
Duterte reiterated his previous position that unless the Philippines is prepared to go to war with China, "I would suggest that we better just call off and treat this, I said, with diplomatic endeavors."
"China is claiming it. We are claiming it. China has the arms, we do not have it. So, it is simple as that. They are in possession of the property. It will remain a property of a --- if you're a lawyer, property rights. They are --- it has nothing to do with the Philippine laws of property but it’s akin to --- they are in possession," Duterte said.
"So what can we do? We have to go to war and I cannot afford it. Maybe some other president can, but I cannot. I tell you, I'm inutile. And I'm willing to admit it. I'm really inutile when it comes to that. I cannot do anything," he stressed.
Duterte explained that the moment he sends the Marines at the shores of Palawan, a province in the country facing the South China Sea, they could easily be targeted by China.
China has been claiming almost the entire South China Sea, including those within the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zones of other countries, such as the Philippines.
Beijing has built artificial islands in the disputed waters despite the strong opposition by other claimant countries, such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia, as well as Taiwan. Celerina Monte/DMS