MANILA (UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he was “inutile” and “cannot do anything” against Beijing’s pursuit of territory and resources in the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by Manila.
The Philippines should “just cool off” and pursue “diplomatic endeavors” to counter China’s sweeping claims to the area “unless we are prepared to go to war,” Duterte said in his fifth State of the Nation Address.
“China is claiming it, we are claiming it. China has the arms. We do not have it so it’s simple as that. They are in possession of the property… So what can we do? We have to go to war, and I cannot afford it. Maybe some other President can, but I cannot,” Duterte said.