Philippine President Alleges China Threatened War

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Gordon sounded the word of caution two days after President Duterte dropped a bombshell, saying that in his one on one with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week in Beijing, the latter bluntly told him that if Manila pushes through with plans to drill in West Philippine Sea, "we will go to war". As Reuters delicately puts it, there is "regional skepticism whether Beijing will commit to rules likely to restrain its maritime ambitions".

Based on the DOC adopted in 2012, the parties reaffirm their respect for and commitment to the freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea as provided for by the universally recognized principles of global law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

"It will provide a good foundation for the next round of consultations", Mr. Liu was also quoted as telling the South China Morning Post. "If we went straight to the contentious issues, we would not get to where we are now".

For his part, House Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu said all claimant-countries should pursue peaceful resolution, adding that war is not an option.

Both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and stability, freedom of navigation in and flight above the South China Sea, addressing their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned.

"An arbitral tribunal...has already ruled with finality that the Reed Bank is within the EEZ of the Philippines and only the Philippines can exploit the natural resources within Philippine EEZ", Carpio said, as he reminded the Philippine government to protect the nation's maritime wealth in its EEZ, as mandated by the Constitution.

Aside from China and the Philippines, three other ASEAN member states - Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam - have overlapping claims in the potentially energy-rich South China Sea.

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He pointed out that China has no veto power in the UN General Assembly.

He said China is the only country that "has threatened the Philippines with war over Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea".

"The Philippines engaged China in a frank discussion on possible explorations in the West Philippine Sea".

"China's threat of war against the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea reveals the aggressive design of China against the Philippines", he said.

China's "blatant threat of war" against the Philippines demands that the Philippines strengthens its defenses and alliances, he added.

"This extremely troubling development calls for all Filipinos to unite to defend the West Philippine Sea in accordance with the Constitution, global law and Unclos", he added.

Sought for clarification, Carpio explained that the Philippines "can sue" China because the Asian giant "is not complying with the previous ruling" issued by another arbitral tribunal. The Philippines can not ally with China because China wants to grab for itself the West Philippine Sea and the Spratlys. The Philippines can ally with the United States because the United States does not claim the West Philippine Sea or any Philippine territory.