PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has challenged the US to fire the “first shot” at China and “assemble all their armaments there in South China Sea.”
“Ngayon sabi ko, dalhin mo ‘yang lahat ng eroplano mo, barko mo dito sa China, fire the first shot at nandito kami sa likod. Sige, laban tayo kung sinong mapulpog. Totoo. America,” Duterte said during the inauguration of Chen Yi Agventures Rice Processing Complex in Alangalang, Leyte.
Duterte said the US is egging on the Philippines to do something about China’s moves in the South China Sea.
“We can never win a war against China. Kaya ‘yan ang problema natin ngayon. I hope that China would not overdo things also because there is always America pushing us, egging us. Tinitikoy tayo para… ‘Sige, sige.’ Ginagawa akong bait. Anong tingin ninyo sa Pilipino, wati (earthworm)?” he said.
“U — sabi nila US-RP pact. Okay. Let America declare the war. Let them assemble all their armaments there in South China Sea. Fire the first shot and I’ll be glad to do the next. May RP-US pact man kaya tayo eh di let us honor it. Do you want trouble? Okay, let’s do it,” Duterte added.
“Eh may panahon man talaga na mamatay ‘yung tao. But then what will happen to the America? And what will happen to the Philippines and Asia? I really do not know. That’s geopolitics eh. Laro ng ano dito. Pero hindi ako g***,” the President added.
The Pentagon said on Tuesday a recent Chinese missile launch in the South China Sea was “disturbing” and contrary to Chinese pledges that it would not militarize the disputed waterway.
“Of course the Pentagon was aware of the Chinese missile launch from the man-made structures in the South China Sea near the Spratly Islands,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn said.
However, China’s Defense Ministry on Friday denied US accusations that the Chinese military had recently carried out missile tests in the disputed South China Sea, saying instead that they had held routine drills that involved the firing of live ammunition.
Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported that the six missiles that were test-fired by China last weekend could have been the Dongfeng-21D ballistic missiles, nicknamed the “carrier-killer.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the defense department will investigate the reported Chinese missile launch.
Duterte on Friday reiterated that the Philippines does not have the capability to go to war against China.
“Mabuti’t at alam ninyo na hanggang… Eh wala eh, mahirap tayo eh. Siguro kung ako ang na-Presidente at nabigyan ako ng 20 years, ah itong Pilipinas kada barangay may limang cruise missiles pati kanyon. [laughter] Totoo,” he said.
The US, he said, could have gone to the Spratlys itself and accosted China.
“Itong America alam nila. May Seventh Fleet sila. Bakit hindi nila pinuntahan doon sa Spratly and say, ‘Hey guys, you are not supposed to build an artificial island in the high seas. That is exactly prohibited by international law, and the fact that you are constructing it within the exclusive economic zone of our friend, the Philippines,’” Duterte said.
“Hinayaan nila. Ngayon na medyo nandiyan na ‘yan, all the guns are there, all the missiles are mounted, they want us to enforce our fisheries law and to protect the environment there. Tanungin ko sila. Are we in possession of China Sea? Because if we are not, it’s all… You are — sabihin out of your rocker,” he added.