Duterte Urges US ‘to Gather All Their Seventh Fleet in Front of’ Beijing Amid S. China Sea Dispute

Earlier this month, Duterte warned Washington about the consequences of a possible military conflict with Beijing over the islands of the South China Sea which apart from China are also claimed by seven nations in the region. The US, for its part, conducts so-called “freedom of navigation” missions in the area.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signalled his readiness to invoke Manila’s Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) with Washington amid tensions over the South China Sea.

“I’m calling now America. I’m invoking the RP-US pact. I would like America to gather all their Seventh Fleet in front of China. I’m asking them now. And I will join them”, Duterte said in televised remarks.

He was referring to the bilateral peace deal signed back in 1951 that stipulates both countries supporting each other in case of an attack by an external party.

Duterte also pledged to drag the critics of his position on the South China Sea dispute to go to war with him, citing Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, and former Foreign Affairs chief Albert del Rosario.

“I will ride on the boat where admiral of the US [is based] . But I will drag along this Carpio and the rest of Albert. When the Americans say, ‘we’re here now’, ready, I will press the (button)”, Duterte claimed.

The remarks come about a week after the Philippine president urged the US to remain committed to the MDT and vowed that Manila would support…

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