Duterte Says Conflict With China Over Regional Waters Will Not End ‘Without Any Bloodshed’

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, ruled in 2016 that China has no legal basis to claim the majority of the sea located between western Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. Beijing subsequently deployed hundreds of Chinese naval vessels into territorial waters exclusive to the Philippines’ economic zone.

Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, responded to the presumed military threat from China in a televised Monday speech, claiming “there is no other way but a war.” Duterte threatened to deploy his own warships, saying he does not see the conflict ending “without any bloodshed.”

The Philippine president went on to say that a conflict “would be bloody,” and that it may “result in a violence that we cannot maybe win.” 

“Just to show the Filipino that no matter how many times we go back there, nothing will happen because we are not in the possession of the sea,” he repeated, asking Lorenzana if it would be possible for him or a team to venture into the Chinese-occupied Whitsun Reef, which is located in the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands.

Lorenzana replied by stating there was no obstacle presented by China that would block them from carrying out such an operation, and that even their Navy ships can travel to conduct their usual resupply missions to the islands of the Kalayaan Island Group.

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has issued numerous diplomatic protests over what…

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