‘Let’s not go to war with China’


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said he would not stop China from building structures at the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, arguing that the country could not afford to go to war with its powerful neighbor.

Duterte made the remarks before leaving for a state visit to Myanmar, following reports that Beijing was planning to build an environmental monitoring station in Panatag Shoal, a traditional fishing ground that it seized in 2012.

“We cannot stop China from doing this thing. The Americans cannot even stop them from doing so. My point to China is, do not do anything to my coast guard if they go there. Because they claim to own it, I claim it to be mine. In the meantime, just keep it open and don’t touch my coast guard,” Duterte told reporters at the Davao International Airport.

“What do you want me to do? Declare war against China? I can’t, we will all lose our military and policemen tomorrow. We are a destroyed nation. We cannot even assert a single sentence of the provision that we signed,” he added.

It wasn’t clear what provision the President was referring to. Duterte said he had told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he won’t insist on the July 2016 ruling of the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that junked China’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea.

The arbitration tribunal declared that Filipino fishermen enjoy fishing rights at Panatag Shoal and that the Kalayaan (Spratly) Islands, as well as Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal and Recto (Reed) Bank, are all within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. China refuses to recognize the ruling.

“As I have said, I will not invoke the ruling for now, but there will be a time in my term [when I am going to invoke it],” Duterte said.

He also brushed aside concerns over Chinese survey ships that had been seen near Benham Rise – waters east of Luzon island recognized by the United Nation as part of the Philippines’ extended continental shelf, where the country can exercise exclusive rights to explore and exploit natural resources.

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he was very concerned that the ships had been seen at Benham Rise, sometimes for as long as a month.

But Duterte said: “So what if they stop there? They admit it is within the territory of the Philippines. That does not satisfy you?”

He described the complaints against China as “nit-picking.”

The Philippines under Duterte’s predecessor Benigno Aquino 3rd had actively challenged China’s claim to control most of the South China Sea, despite counter-claims by several other nations.

However Duterte, who took office last year, has reversed that policy and is seeking billions of dollars worth of investments and grants from Beijing.

“We are now improving the economy because of the help of China. Why will you be so shameless just because they are passing by?” he told reporters.

Beijing has already reclaimed large areas around several islets and reefs in the Spratly archipelago elsewhere in the South China Sea, and installed military facilities on some of them.

However, analysts warn that building on Scarborough Shoal would radically change the situation since it is just 230 kilometers (143 miles) from Luzon.

Outposts on the shoal would put Chinese jet fighters and missiles within easy striking distance of military bases in the Philippines, some of which could host US troops.

The shoal also commands the northeast exit of the sea, so a Chinese military outpost there could stop other countries’ navies from using the waters.



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  1. PilipinasAngBayanKo on

    Walang Pilipino ang gugustuhin ang magka-gera lalo pa at malakas ang kalaban. Hindi naman porke gusto mo umangal, gera na kagad ang gagawin? Kelangan lang i-assert ni Digong ang rights natin sa Panatag kahit na gawin ng makapal na mukhang mga yan ang gusto nila!
    Totoo, kung ano gusto nila gawin sa tabi ng bakuran natin, magagawa nila kasi nga malakas sila. Unless pigilan sila ng USA na may interes din pagdating sa freedom of navigation issue. Ang USA lang ang kayang harangan sila.
    Ang hindi ko matanggap ay parang sukong-suko na ang Presidente natin. Anong meron Sir?
    Bakit nya sinasabi na;- “We cannot go to war with china”..Eh bakit?..tanungin nya nga ang matinong Pilipino dyan sa daan kung gusto ng gera?…100% ang sagot nun ay “HINDI”. Bkit gera kagad ang sinasabi nya? Kinu-kundisyon ba nya ang mga Pinoy na huwag na lang tayo umalma?..dahil wala din namang mangyayari?..May iba pang paraan aparte sa gera para contrahin ang mga yun…yun ay i-express natin ang ating karapatan sa Panatag at Benham rise; na sa ating Bansa inihandog ang rights ng UNCLOS. Eh..wala eh..si Digong taas kagad ang braso at kamay…suko kagad!..Hindi kahanga-hanga eh…Kahit pangit ang regime ni Pnoy…kahit paano may iisang nagawang positive sila; at nagawad nga sa atin nun July-2016 ang tamang hatol at napahiya ang mga yun sa pinag-gagawa nila sa WPS…kaya lang talagang makapal eh!

  2. So many critics but not one of these critics has volunteered to take up arms on their own and go and forcefully eject the invaders from the disputed islands.

    • vagoneto rieles on

      Could it be because we have ‘no leadership’ at all…not just from the President, but from his cabinet as well; the Senate; and, least of all, the servile house of representatives. All government offices today…owing to their canine subservience to the President…have rendered their offices ‘inutile’. Since they have left everything for him to decide, allowing him to do as he pleases with the country and its citizens, these offices are nothing more than ‘echo chambers’ of President Duterte. They are exactly as useful as ‘tits on a bull’.
      The Philippines seems to be sinking into an undeclared ‘constitutional monarchy’…or, most definitely, into nothing more than a ‘personality cult’.
      A true leader would have been able to lead his constituents…united as one…to either bar the entry of an alien force into our lands in the face of imminent loss; or, to welcome these force into the country, but clearly insisting in sovereignty over our territory. Conceding these requisites just shows that we have no leadership at all.

  3. florendo abad on

    By this comments of all Duterte’s followers, I believe they are all COWARDS. During the Spanish regime , Our Hero’s fought with just Bolos and Knives against cannon and guns, Yes they sacrifice their lives for us to live free.
    They also fought the Americans until we got our independence. We also have unsung heroes who fought the Marcos dictatorship to preserve our independence. All these Heroes death are not in vain because we are free.
    BUT now, we have a president who is giving away our own right without even consulting Congress or Senate for approval or consultation, He’s doing it like he owns it and You Dutertes followers just ignore it. What will you tell your next generations Sons or Daugthers when they ask …. Why The Philippines is part China?

    • we have a president who is giving away our own right without even consulting Congress or Senate for approval

      Many of the senators are pork barrel thieves who could be charged with a word from President Duterte.
      So in effect Duterte owns them.

      The senate is well known for being subservient to whoever is president.
      The perks are amazing i bet.

    • Are you nuts? You are describing an era of knife and guns.

      In today’s age, the weapons that exist in China is more than enough to obliterate your country without even suffering a single casualties. Your president is smart not to attack China directly. He will have to find a powerful allies. Trade embargo can be used instead of direct conflict.

  4. What do we do ?

    Get elected with tough talk ” I will drive a jet ski and plant the PH flag
    Call the American president a son of a whore
    Insult the European Union, the Pope and the United Nations

    Issue weekly announcements

    That the US needs to remove their troops from the Philippines
    Have the President and Senator Sotto declare that the Philippines does not need help or aid since the country has never benefited from such handouts.
    Declare that the Philippines prefers to enter into a alliance with Russia and China.

    Issue statement
    Duterte says he would not stop China from building structures at the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal,

    Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he was very concerned that the Chinese ships had been seen at Benham Rise, sometimes for as long as a month.

    “We are now improving the economy because of the help of China said Duterte. Why will you be so shameless just because they are passing by?

    A month to pass by ?

    Seems like the deal is China will build whatever they want and the Philippines will stay out of their way.


    • How about listing the good things he had done, or are you one of those haters no matter what good he had done.

    • @FYI, yes, that maybe facts. But they are twisted facts.

      It is A hit B, then B hit A
      C hit B, then B hit C
      D hit B, then B hit D.

      You present B hit A, B hit C, B hit D. Only a dumb person will allow himself to be influence by a twisted facts. A dumber person to write it and think that other will buy it.

      The new Pope like to meddle in other countries affair. He was even criticizing Trump for building walls when the US has every sovereign right to do so.

      What the Pope needs to do is clean up his own house first. The Catholic Church ridden with depravity and unholy acts/practices.

      A thinking person can see that you seem to have a grievance against your president. What you have presented is an unfair on side “facts”. An incomplete “facts”.

  5. President Duterte is a excellent leader。Much clever than the former,that makes this country peaceful and developing。It’s no help to fight against the powerful China which will destroy the nation and many military humans。Have corporation with the dragon is wise。At last the people choose Du as their president ,its lucky for this country。

  6. If I’m the commander, my orders would be to buy more MPACs, hundreds of them to fight in case of conflict, not large vessels eg frigates, subs. MPACs are small but mobile equipped with radars, missiles, and torpedos, and can even be skippered by female soldiers. My guests theres still time for this and funds since they are much cheaper.

  7. We all know that going to war with any nation does not give good result to our nation. So many countries in the Middle East took the bait into waging war and suffered a very serious loss. Those countries until now are still in shamble years passed already so many casualties and fatalities were recorded. People were fleeing to other countries to seek refuge, we don’t want that to happen to our country. There are some remedies, just let both countries talk and settle this matter fairly.

  8. The_preacher on

    wise move by the president to me he is reading the Bible than most of the people with their comments to fight against China

    Jesus itself warn this

    Luke 14:31-32 / NET
    31 ‭‭Or what king, going out to confront another king in battle, will not sit down first and determine whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?‭

    32 ‭‭If he cannot succeed, he will send a representative while the other is still a long way off and ask for terms of peace.‭

  9. Compare the titles of this same article from other major publication:

    Manila Times: Let’s not go to war with China
    Philippine Star: Duterte: I can’t stop China in Panatag
    Philippine Daily Inquirer: Duterte: I can’t stop China in Panatag
    Manila Bulletin: PH cannot stop China’s plans in the South China Sea: Duterte

    I guess the yellow PDI is the most malicious.

  10. Kung gusto niyo ng giyera sa China sabihan niyo ang Uncle SAM niyo na ang battle ground ay sa US wag sa bayan kong Sinilangan?

  11. Duterte does not know anything about Chinese. First, they are very clever and second, they know that they are big , rich and has the military muscle to scare countries like us. Duterte knows this and playing it safe, he played the weakling card knowing that a lot of Pilipinos will die. What do we do ? Just shut up.

  12. President Duterte ay matapang lang pala sa kapwa Pilipino. Pero pag China na ang abusado, takot na.

  13. ” LETS NOT GO TO WAR WITH CHINA ” is a PARADOX almost like saying ” We should not go to war until we know how to win” . The commentaries on the column today, despite apparently sound reasoning from true premises, lead to self contradictory or logically unacceptable conclusions. The main contributory factor is that the comments are trapped in a time warp using a premise of a Maoist China over 6 decades ago. Modern china today is the opposite of the dark ages under the Maoist regime. The premise today is Independent Foreign Relations and the cards are stacked in favor of China, losing hands of the EU , UN and America are bluffing and raising their antes by interfering with the Sovereignty of the Philippines and the mandate given by the Filipino people to DU30 ……

  14. Patalsikin si Duterte habang buhay pa mga kumakalaban sa kanya dahil pag naibalik na death penalty siguradong ubos opposition nya. ATIN ang PANATAG!!! Mga mangingisda mag welga na tyo, nawawala na mga kabuhayan nyo dahil kay duterte.. Gusto nya Gera sa droga pero Gera sa China TAKOT na TAKOT sya.. Buti pa Vietnam hindi Takot!!

  15. Duterte DUWAG!! BINENTA na nya Panatag at iba pa sa halagang $24 billion. ATIN ang mga bahura na ito, Huwag natin hayaan ipamigay ang ATIN

  16. There are seven (7) artificial islands now in Scarborough Shoal, compliments of the Chinese, and their main purpose in constructing these islands and militarize them is to expand their territory. This will give them all the rights to control the International Waterway, meaning, they can forbid anybody to sail by, fly over, or catch fish in their territory. The freedom of navigation that Americans used to enjoy is no longer there because the Chinese can do anything they wish to do to protecting their sovereignty, and after all, it is part of their territory.

    The Americans told the Chinese privately, to STOP building more islands in Scarborough Shoal last year, as per Lorenzana, and they heeded and complied. So, what this means? the Chinese are not that stupid to go to war with Americans because they know from the beginning, that their Armed Forces cannot and will never be fairly compared with the power of the U.S. Armed Forces. Therefore, the Chinese cannot afford to go to war against the Philippines nor Japan. Let them send their missile to the Philippine military base(s) that were given permission to use by Americans under EDCA, and see what happens. This will only give the Americans to declare war against China with the support of U.S. Congress. Remember WWII? the U.S. fought in two (2) fronts, Pacific and Europe, and came out victorious.

  17. True colors are now coming out from this poltroon that we Filipinos call our president. All he can be is a bully with us and not stand up from us to the Chinese. Vietnam who is poorer than us, but can use their military to fight, but not win against China, and in the end China withdrew from Vietnam’s territory, so not to anger the world community. Because the Filipino voted a “strong man” (emphasis on the small letters); we thought that he would take it to anyone who will wrong us, but no he just know how to bully us poor and hapless Filipinos.

    He quickly sided with China thinking that China is the better choice against the US, but turns out it was a big mistake. He is now cowardly saying to the Chinese that you can take anything from us Filipinos as long as he is in power. This is what happens when we voted for someone who talks too loud, makes promises, and does not have any sense of what he talking about. All he did in the campaign was talk about drugs, nothing about with regards to our foreign affairs, and economy, because he has none. When did he try to go to a western country and try to explain the situation here in the Philippines, never did he do it. Because he does not know how to talk to any western nation.

    He will be going to Russia (not a western country) this May, he is going to a country that is like an echo chamber to his cause. Russia does not know how to do trade or or manufacture goods that our own countrymen will use. Russia just knows how to build weapons, and tell other countries that if you don’t follow Russia, Russia will take your country away from you, almost like China.

    China never invents something out from nothing all it does is steal information from the US and make it as if they made it from scratch. Look at the planes, ships, tanks, missiles that they “made”, it looks exactly like the one that america produced.

    Angela Merkel just went to the US, spoke with Trump, the two has nothing in common with each other, Trump even made a jab at Merkel. In the end the two had a good bilateral meeting and good came out of it. Trade was done and then some, so why can’t our poltroon president do the same thing, and talk with the western countries and see what they (EU, US) can do to help us with our drug problem and economy without being antagonistic with them. The past is the past, time to build our future, we’ll talk about the past when the time is right, not now not with DU30 maybe a more pleasant future Filipino president that has the skills to do what is right, with our economy, livelihood, territory, and history.

    • You seems to be extremely naive and uninformed. What good bilateral meeting you are talking about? It seems either you have not read the news or you are spreading false informations. Did you read Trump tweets after the meeting with Merkel?

      Philippines is a sovereign country, it should never have to explain to other nations its war on drugs unless your government is sanctioning or committing atrocities. With the current cleansing of PNP, it does not seem to be condoning corrupt police.

      Go to EU to help you with your economy and drugs problem? Are you simplistic are just plain uninformed and then assuming you know it all ? They have their own drug problems and the treat of PIGS are not totally eradicated.

      At the current situation, your president cannot turn to EU, your opposition parties had cause enough damage on that relationship.

      Duterte can turn to US regarding China, with the new president, the relationship should be restarted.

      If you want to asked help to fight drugs, turn to Singapore, or other countries in Asia who are successful in their fight against drugs.

      It seems you are one of those people who blindly worship EU without gathering data.

    • Mina, did you read what I wrote above? I criticized DU30 of just bullying the poor hapless drug addicts and not going after China’s intrusion in the Philippine territory. You just wrote back at my opinion without actually comprehending it. Did I write anything about DU30 should listen with what the EU or UN is telling him about the drug problem…. NO!

      Now about Trump and Merkel, I know that you read a lot from Rappler, HuffingtonPost, and all the fake media. If you look further maybe below the news articles, Trump and Merkel said that the US and Germany will far have a better deal than a combined deal with the EU, as a whole. Bilateral talks in much better than multilateral, because it is easier to talk to one person at a time than with a lot of people to please.

  18. Originally, your country should be able to go to UN regarding China illegal building of structure, but with your VP and opposition parties attacking your president in the UN, EU, and US, these relationship are strain. The meddling of HRW and the previous US president on your internal affairs had also cause your president to rely on China and Russia.

    Your opposition parties, De Lima, Trillanes, and your VP, in its self interest has manage to damage all these relationship. The Philippines is a narco state, rank 2nd in the world in Amphetamine use. But it seems De Lima, Trillanes, your VP and the opposition parties does not give a damn about your country spiraling downward because of drug.

    Fortunately, the US has a new president so the relationship is restarted. Duterte should asked the US for help regarding the China issues. But with EU using trade to bully Philippines, I guess Duterte cannot afford to make to more enemies. A lot of players has acted with short sightedness . Western countries had tolerated despot and dictators, depending on the situation.

    The situation in the Philippines is very much like Iraq, where some guy from Iraq, hoping to topple Saddam gave false information.

    Well, congratulation to De Lima, Trillanes, your VP, the opposition parties involved, EU, HRW, UN for contributing to these situations. The loser is Philippines and western countries.

    • But with EU using trade to bully Philippines,

      You don’t appear to be very well informed Mina.

      The Philippines received the EU trade agreement benefits when they got rid of the death penalty.
      Since the Philippines wants to revive the death penalty they are in violation of the trade agreement and the benefits will stop.

      The PH government knew this before they started the process of bringing back the death penalty, the people are misinformed if they thought they could keep both the trade agreement and the death penalty.

      The government of the Philippines made a choice they would rather have the death penalty than the EU trade agreements, Its as simple as that.

  19. PilipinasAngBayanKo on

    Dahil daw sa mga chinese kaya improving ang economy natin? Totoo ba yun? Hirap intindihin ng style ni Digong.
    Hahayaan na lang lider na ito na basta basta ang gustong gawin ng chinese. Hindi ko maintindihan eh..ni wala man lang sya plan B, plan C, etc?…Ganun-ganun na lang ba yun? Hindi ba sya pede lumapit sa ibang bansa para humingi ng supporta para kontrahin ang plano ng mga chinese na mag build ng structure sa Panatag? Bakit sobrang ilag sya sa mga chinese? Anong klaseng liderato naman ito?
    Sir Presidente, bumoto ako sa iyo kasi akala ko matapang ka. Kung iniisip mo na wise move ang ginagawa mo, maling mali ka Sir. Hindi kelangan ng gera with chinese, oo tama yun..pero dapat ipakita mo naman ang matinding effort nag liderato mo para sa karapatan ng bansa sa Panatag…Aba eh dineklarang na Pilipinas ang may karapatan sa Panatag hindi ang mga chinese! Saan mo dadalhin ang Pilipinas? Nakaka sigurado ka ba na hindi tayo aabusuhin ng mga chinese…ni wala man tayong sense of nationalism!

    • We never know what the previous administration did during the time the Chinese started to claim the Shoal. Accept the fact that Chinese have the machineries and military offensive weapons that Philippines cant match right now. President Duterte is right, all we have to do is to rely on the agreement during the bilateral meeting between phils and china.