MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed claims that Chinese troops have invaded Sandy Cay; a sandbar near the Philippine-controlled Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.
The President believes there is no reason to defend the sandbar as there is no ‘invasion’ by China happening in the area.
Duterte’s remarks came after Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio warned the Philippine government about the presence of Chinese troops in Sandy Cay; a feature about 2.5 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island and well within the country’s territorial waters, which is supposedly tantamount to an invasion.
“Why should I defend a sandbar and kill the Filipinos because of a sandbar?” the President said on Monday.
The President added China assured him they will not build anything there.
“I called the Ambassador nung nabasa ko [And when I read]. He said, ‘We will assure you that we are not building anything there’” Duterte said.
“Hindi nga na-invade eh [There is no invasion]. Hindi naman totoo iyong sinasabi ni ano [What he (Carpio) said is not true]—they are just there but they are not claiming anything,” he added.
Furthermore, the President said China will not risk invading a sandbar and risk a quarrel with the Philippines, since they will get nothing out of it.