Duterte questions China sea buildup


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday hit China’s reclamation activities the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), warning Beijing its actions could disrupt trade and become a potential military “flashpoint.”

China appears to be building new structures in the disputed Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), also called Bajo de Masinloc, Duterte revealed.

In a speech during the inauguration of the Davao International Container Terminal in Davao del Norte, Duterte said he received an intelligence report claiming that new barges were going to the area for construction activities.

“I read the report that the Coast Guard made little trips near them and there are a lot of barges. What is the purpose of a barge? … I think they are starting at Bajo de Masinloc and this would be another ruckus there,” Duterte said.

The President warned China against continuing its reclamation activities, stressing that South China Sea could be a “potential flashpoint” and that military buildup in the area could disrupt world trade.

“The problem is we do not really know what the intentions of China are … Because if it continues building military installations there, everything will go up. Then trade in this part of that alley there, that corridor, would go up,” he said.

While he reiterated that he does not intend to bring up the July 12 arbitration ruling that invalidated China’s claims to the disputed waters during next week’s Asean Summit in Laos, Duterte said he would raise the matter during bilateral talks with China.

“I have nothing against China now. I do not intend to raise the issue before Asean because if I do, there’s going to be a convoluted thing there,” Duterte said.

Duterte pivoted on his China stance on Monday and said the Philippines would set the international ruling in its favor during initial talks with Beijing on the West Philippine Sea dispute.

But on Friday, the President said any negotiation with China should be based on the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision that favored the Philippines.

“Whether you like it or not, I proceed, and my predicate for my willingness to talk to you would be the arbitration judgment in our favor,” Duterte said.

The President however clarified that a military confrontation with China was out of the question.

“We are all for peace. I do not want to ignite anything there. I’ve been holding my tongue,” he said.

“I carry on my shoulders the burden of this country. I am the President. I take care solely of the foreign affairs of this country and I should be wary of my behavior and gesture, and even in my official and personal capacity … Everything is all right,” the President added.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. China a restricted eye bully madami Lang nila kaya eye wide n rin. We all know what was the means of chinks s bakuran ntin Tanga Lang ang Hindi p nkakaalam .

    At the moment “i am with the right to defend my nationalism at all cost come what may” if my fellow Filipino have little faith on what can we do count me less. History all ready told if you dare the devil must be ready to meet death halfway just to be separated to what you will became the next day. Mi ultimo fortis.

  2. Little David defeated his gigantic opponent Goliath based on his weakness. He used his strength with his sling shot weapon directly upon Goliath’s forehead, the weakest point of his body. He knew beforehand his sight problem and that triggered his downfall before little David.

    We should use the same tactic in dealing with gigantic China. Through diplomatic skills, we should use the a bullet the international ammunition awarded to us by the international community. Our diplomats should should use all their expertise in knowing exactly what China wants and boast our leverage from there. It can still be an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth through bilateral talks but not a bullet for a bullet for that will be our downfall. We should realize our weakness.

  3. Ignacio Balbutin on

    of course the intention of China is Panatag shoal is to dig our quadrillion barrels of oil and gas in that area. They will not risk anything if there is nothing in Panatag shoal. It is the hope of the Philippines with deposits of oil and gas bigger than that of Saudi Arabia. We should not let them steal the our hope and the hope of our children. Gas is the fuel of the future and is we can dig it, we will be the main exporter of gas in the world

    • It is too late! The mistake was trying to blackmail the USA into paying too high fees for the air base at Clark and navy base at Subic 20 years ago.

      The Chinese are smart and have tried to create anti USA sentiment in the Philippines for many years for the benefit of China.

      Only a fool would think China is listening to the Philippines. They now have Submarines, War ships and war planes on these Philippine islands.

      All Philippine maps need to be changed now to say West Philippines Sea. Delete off South China sea from every talk, every media post every map in the world.

      Only with the help of Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Unitet Kingdom USA etc will The Philippines be safe.

      China wants the fish
      China wants to Oil and Gas
      China wants to block trade routes
      China has invaded already thess islands and build Military bases

      Wake up Philippines they will not listen to your weak pleas for mercy.

      I myself have been to China Submarine base at Hainan Island China Sanya 10 years ago and I knew then they wanted to invade this whole area… now they have! This is what they have been planning and building for for many years and it will not stop

  4. vic penetrante on

    Time for CBCP to offer an “oratio imperata,’ other religious groups and all of us to pray: Dear Lord, please make China recognize and follow the UN Arbitration Ruling. Please rid the Philippines from the evil of drugs.

    • Stupid comment Bill. Without the CIA and USA The Philippines would be already taken over by China fully.

      It is the USA and CIA who is sailing next to the little useless Philippine navy to protect them like babies from the evil China killing machine.

      How many Philippine Islands do you want China to invade and take?