President Rodrigo Duterte said during the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Campaign Rally in Agusan del Norte on April 22 that he will do what he can in addressing the West Philippine Sea dispute.
“I’ll do the most that I can because I was not sure whether China would remain friendly or not after [former President Noynoy] Aquino picked a fight with them,” Duterte said.
He said that Aquino and [former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert] del Rosario are hounding him about the arbitral ruling.
“But if you go back in time to when it all began, this started in the Scarborough Islands. There was a standoff there and I remember that China sent a ship and we sent ours as well,” Duterte said.
He added that del Rosario was the only one who negotiated.
“But America was scared. They knew that a war about something so small is not worth it. Because if they hit us and America decides to help, it could trigger a world war. America knows it. Everybody does,” he added.
“So America said: Both of you should retreat. Del Rosario ordered our ship to retreat, but China refused to follow. That is why they filed a case,” Duterte said.
“We lost it during the Scarborough standoff. Karon, while they were building, over the years while the case was heard in the arbitral court, sige na sila og construction. O ngano wa nila adtua didto, giparking nila ilang barko? (So why did they not go there when China situated their ship there?) “What are you doing here? You are not supposed to build artificial islands in the high seas, in the international seas. That’s not allowed,” he said.
“America did not do anything. Now it’s almost complete. It looks like a real camp. They have guns. They want me to visit it. It’s fine, it can be done just to show off. But we would all be destroyed. And my soldiers and my policemen will be massacred. We can’t defeat them. So let’s stick to just talking unless you want me to say: O sige I’ll attack China. Who’s with me?” he added.