South China Sea crisis: Officials attack Duterte fearing ‘territory may no long be ours'

South China Sea crisis: Officials attack Duterte fearing ‘territory may no long be ours'


Under President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines has shifted to a more pro-China stance. Mr Duterte recently announced that there was nothing the country could do in the face of China’s forces. In response to Mr Duterte, Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo has admitted that she fears the country is giving into China’s territorial gains in the region.

Ms Robredo said: “I understand why our new administration is more friendly to China, but I think there should be a clear line as far as protecting our territory and sovereignty.

“The president has made a lot of statements which gives a sense we are acquiescing to what China wants.”

Ms Robredo also added that “we might wake up one day and many of our territories are no longer ours”.

The Vice President’s comments come as Mr Duterte recently claimed that the Philippines would be decimated if they tried to remove Chinese forces from the disputed zone.

READ MORE: South China Sea: Beijing warned over crunch talks by Philippines

Mr Duterte claimed: “When Chinese President Xi says ‘I will fish’, who can prevent him?”

“We have to temper it with the times and realities we face today.”

Adding to the tense scenario in the region, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana recently accused Beijing of going against any intention to maintain peace.

Mr Lorenzana’s accusation comes after China took control of the Scarborough Shoal which lies 200km from the Philippine cost, according to South China Morning Post (SCMP).

READ MORE: South China Sea: Philippines’ Duterte to threaten Beijing

Following a stand off with Philippine vessels, Beijing ignored a 2016 ruling by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration that found its actions violated Manila’s sovereign rights.

Mr Lorenzana told Rappler: “Well, the way they took over Scarborough Shoal, to me that was bullying.”

Despite his recent comments, Mr Lorenzana has previously expressed his hope for greater military cooperation with Beijing.

At an event celebrating the 92nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, he said: “Our country’s defence force joins you not only in your celebration, but also in manifesting the values of solidarity and amity with the rest of the world, affirming our strong equipment to peace, security, and stability in the world.”

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