Philippines' Duterte warns of dangers of China's sea claims

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he plans to "talk lengthily" about the dangers of China's claims during a summit of leaders of Asean in Bangkok over the weekend.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he plans to "talk lengthily" about the dangers of China's claims during a summit of leaders of Asean in Bangkok over the weekend.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MANILA (DPA) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday (June 21) warned China that other nations could also start declaring ownership to seas near their territories if it continues to lay claim to the entire South China Sea.

Mr Duterte said he plans to "talk lengthily" about the dangers of China's claims during a summit of leaders of Asean in Bangkok over the weekend.

"My question to China, we're friends, but... is it correct for China to declare ownership of an ocean?" he said before flying to Thailand for the Asean summit.

"It's simple - can you claim an ocean as your own because tell me now, (and) I will also claim mine."

Mr Duterte said that if that was the case, then the United States can lay claim to a third of the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines to the Sulu Sea, and other countries to other bodies of water near them.

"Now I'm thinking of claiming the Sulu Sea as ours and you can't pass by there without permission from me," he said. "That is the danger."

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a key shipping lane believed to be rich in marine and mineral resources. Other claimants are the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

 

In July 2016, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled Beijing has no legal or historical basis for its "Nine-Dash Line", which demarcates its claims to almost the entire South China Sea.