‘How?’ Duterte asks amid call to keep Chinese out of Philippine EEZ


MANILA, Philippines (Updated 9:45 p.m.) — How do I ban Chinese ships from fishing in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone?

President Rodrigo Duterte posed the question to critics who have chided him for saying that China could not be stopped from fishing in the Philippine EEZ, an area where the country has rights to the marine resources.

Asked on Monday if the Philippines can keep Chinese vessels from fishing in the West Philippine Sea, Duterte said he does not believe they will stay out of the Philippines’ EEZ.

“Why? Because we’re friends,” Duterte explained.

‘How do I enforce?’
Speaking during the 122nd anniversary of the Presidential Security Group in Malacañang, Duterte said even western countries like the United States could not compel China to refrain from claiming ownership of disputed areas in the South China Sea.

“They tell me you have to ban China, prohibit them. If I prohibit them, how do I enforce?,” Duterte said.

“Takot nga ang Amerika, ayaw nga mag-control tapos ako pa ipusta nila? Gusto talaga nila mapasubo ako (Even America was afraid. They do not want to control, then they want me to put me on the line? They really want to put me at risk),” the president of the Republic of the Philippines said.

Duterte claimed the US did nothing even if it was aware of China’s plan to build a military base in the South China Sea.

“We cannot drive away because they have insisted it is theirs,” he said.

Duterte has repeatedly said that the Philippines cannot match China’s military might, although critics of the administration’s policy in the West Philippine Sea have said diplomatic alternatives to war exist.
‘US, European countries should join Philippines’
Duterte also challenged the US and some European countries to join the Philippines in resisting China’s activities in South China Sea.

“This is my challenge, America, Britain, France: Let us assemble in Palawan and proceed directly to Spratlys. Let us seize whatever we can seize,” Duterte said.

The US, UK and France have sailed through the South China Sea in what are sometimes called “freedom of navigation” operations.

“Kung maubos tayo lahat, sabi nila (If we all perish, they will claim) Duterte is not protecting the interest of the Filipino. Godd**n sh**. You want me to put the lives of 110 million Filipino by going into trouble?” Duterte added.