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Duterte warns China against monopoly over sea resources.

Duterte: warning against Chinese monopoly

By Ralph Villanueva/Manila Times

President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to declare war against China if it monopolises oil and uranium resources in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Escalating his rhetoric against Beijing despite an official policy of resolving Manila's maritime dispute with Beijing through peaceful means, Duterte warned China there would be "difficulty" if it found significant natural resources in the disputed waters. The president said he could even raise the Philippines' 2016 legal victory before a United Nations-backed arbitration tribunal that invalidated China's claim to nearly the entire South China Sea. "I will assert, why? The oil. If you take it alone, there will be mess. Because if you struck oil now, what is the ocean? I'll let you be. That is all yours," Duterte said in a mix of Visayan and English, in remarks during the conference of the Visayas chapters of the League of Municipalities in Cebu City on Tuesday night. "But the uranium there... That is another story. The oil, that is another story. There, we will have a difficulty," Duterte added. He joked that acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano would bring bolo knives to the disputed area and hack the Chinese. Duterte had been irked by a BBC report that China had shooed Filipino pilots away from the contested waters. According to the BBC report, the Chinese military issued a "vociferous warning" against a Philippine plane flying nearby. The radio transmission was suspected to have come from Beijing's artificial islands, where it has powerful communications and surveillance equipment. "Philippine military aircraft, I'm warning you again. Leave immediately or you will bear responsibility for all the consequences!" the radio transmission said. Last week, Duterte urged China to "temper" its behaviour against the Philippines, insisting that Filipinos had the right to innocent passage in the area. Duterte has kept a cordial relationship with China since taking his oath as president, compared with the combative stance of his predecessor, Benigno Aquino, who filed the arbitration case against Beijing.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:0PACI
Date:Aug 24, 2018
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