Duterte to China: Relax, no guns, only structures in PH islands

Posted April 13, 2017

The Chinese government claims nearly all territory in the South China Sea, including the sovereign territory of the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and the waters off Natuna Island in Indonesia. We are friends, as a matter of fact. However, the United States might want the Philippines to do so, he said.

"And maybe when we get rich, very rich I can sell the land to you for - inyo na (it's yours), when the spectacle of a war is gone", he said in his pre-departure speech in Davao City.

"And if you notice, the context, it says when there's no more trouble, when we're rich enough, in a sense that's really, I think, that is in the far future, that will be the end result of our friendship and negotiations with China", Duterte's spokesman added. "We're just trying to maintain the balance of the geopolitical situation there", Duterte said.

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Chinese vessels were spotted past year conducting research in Benham Rise which both the Departments of Foreign Affairs and National Defense claimed had no permission from the Philippine government.

He also instructed the army to develop permanent structures with a Philippine flag raised. Upon his return, Duterte said he will be issuing an executive order renaming Benham Rise as "The Philippine Ridge" or "The Philippine Rise".

The latest First Quarter Ulat ng Bayan survey, conducted from March 15 to 20, 2017, showed public approval over the government's defense of the country's territory against foreigners declining by 8 percentage points, from 65 percent in December 2016 to 58 percent in March 2017.

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Also on Monday, a unit of Fitch Group said renewed tensions between China and the Philippines were posing a risk to proposed Chinese investments in Philippine infrastructure projects.

Last week, Duterte caused uproar after claiming he ordered the military to "occupy all islands, put up structures and the Philippine flag".

"If they [US and China] fight each other, we will be hit".

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"The current tensions over the South China Sea represents a potential opening for Japanese companies to increase their stakes in the Philippines' infrastructure sector, as both politicians and the public grow wary of Chinese investment", the report also read.