PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, July 5, dared the United States to declare war against China following criticisms he received over his handling of the maritime dispute between Manila and Beijing.
“We can never win a war with China. But I hope that China would not overdo things also because there is always America pushing us, egging us,” he said in his speech at the opening of Chen Yi Agventures Rice Processing Center (CYA-RPC) in Alangalang town, Leyte province.
“They’re making me the bait. What do you think Filipinos are, earthworms?” he added.
Duterte urged the U.S. to fire the first shot, adding that the Philippines would be right behind them because of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.
“Now I say, you bring your planes, your boats to South China Sea. Fire the first shot and we’ll behind you. Let’s do this and see who’s going down,” he said.
“We have an RP-U.S. pact, so let us honor it. Do you want trouble? Okay, let’s do it,” he continued.
According to the president, the Palawan province would be the first to be hit if war broke out over the South China Sea as it is facing the waterway.
“Now he wants us to tickle China and when this blows up — Palawan will be blown up and sacrificed because they’re all there now because it’s facing the South China Sea. I am not about to order my soldiers to go to the mouths of hell to die unarmed. I cannot do that,” he said.
Duterte also slammed his critics, specifically calling out former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, for telling him what to do.
“They are attacking me on the collateral that I should bar China from fishing, from destroying…They want me to go there. How do I enforce the arbitral ruling? Should I go there with the Navy and I insist and say, ‘Hey, you guys, you go out.’ And China, ‘No, what do you want?’ So, should we have war?” he said.
“I don’t know how they would do it but I would like to turn over the government to Carpio, Del Rosario, and Morales. If the three of them will join together, I would be happy to lead them. If there will really be a war, I will drag them there. We’ll all die anyway,” Duterte added.