Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday China’s leaders told him they were prepared to go to war over competing claims in the South China Sea.
Duterte, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing this week, said he was making the threat public in response to domestic criticism he was being too weak with China over the dispute.
“I really said it to their face. That is ours and we intend to drill oil there,” Duterte said, revealing his previously unreported plans to explore for natural resources in disputed areas.
“And they told me: ‘Well, we’re friends. We do not want to quarrel with you. We want to maintain the present warm relationship. But if you force the issue we’ll go to war.'”
The competing claims to the sea, which is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits, have for decades made it one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints.
Full article: Philippines’ Duterte: China threatened ‘war’ over sea row (Spacewar)