September 12, 2018
President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that he had a "quarrel" with China when the Philippine military plane was shooed away by the Chinese Navy in the South China Sea last month.
In a tete-a-tete with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Tuesday in Malacanang, Duterte insisted that "in the eyes of the world," a certain part of the South China Sea belongs to the Philippines.
"That's why we quarreled. We had a little, not necessarily animosity," he said, recalling that when the Philippine Navy aircraft was getting near the South China Sea, the Chinese shouted at them.
Quoting the Chinese Navy, Duterte said, "You Filipinos, you get there you will be causing trouble', yet we're friends."
"They know...in the eyes of the world, that's ours, not theirs," he added.
The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration has ruled in favor of the Philippines, which questioned China's sovereign and historic claim in almost the entire South China Sea through its nine-dash line, including those areas within the 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
But Duterte reiterated that the Philippines could not fight China as he did not want the Filipino soldiers being slaughtered.
Earlier reports said that a Philippine aircraft was drove away by Chinese Navy while flying in the South China Sea.
During the surveillance flight of P-8A Poseidon aircraft of the US Navy over the Spratly Islands early August, it overheard China's message to the Philippine aircraft, which was also conducting a flight in its exclusive economic zone.
A voice from the Chinese reportedly warned the Filipinos that they have to leave immediately or they would bear responsibility for all the consequences.
The warning that was given to the Filipinos reportedly was not polite compared to when the Chinese made a similar warning to the US aircraft.
The Philippines and China are engaged in territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Celerina Monte/DMS
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