- President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines cannot stop China from building structures in Panatag Shoal
- He said he cannot declare war against China because it will risk losing the entire police and military force
- The president also acknowledged China’s help in the country’s improving economy
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines cannot stop China from building structures in Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) amid reports that the latter is planning to construct a radar station in one of the disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Duterte’s statement came after Associate Justice Antonio Carpio warned that China may finally complete its coverage of the entire West PH Sea/ South China Sea once the radar is finished and may impose an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the area.
But Duterte said the country cannot do anything as it could risk going to war with the communist country.
“We cannot stop China from doing these things,” said Duterte in his pre-departure speech on Sunday before flying to Myanmar.
“What would you want me to do, declare war against China? I can, but we all lose our military and policemen… and we cannot assert a single sentence of any provision that we signed,” the president said.
The President also justified China’s recent assertion of its right of passage to Benham Rise.
“And so what if they stop there. They admit that it is within the territory of the Philippines. That does not satisfy you?” Duterte explained.
Duterte likewise acknowledged China’s help in the Philippines’ improving economy.
“We are not at war against China. We are not at war against America, and yet American ships come and go. Why should we not allow the Russians, they are also my friend. China is also our friend, and now we are improving on the economy because of the help of China,” he added.