DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday, October 31, he is holding on to China’s promise that it will not build anything on Scarborough Shoal.
“Yes. Well, tayo (we), once I commit to you as President of a sovereign state, what comes out of my mouth is what it is. And it’s always a commitment with honor,” Duterte told reporters when asked about the issue.
Duterte arrived here late Tuesday night at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport after his official visit in Tokyo, Japan.
During the press conference, the President said China’s promise brings peace, and he would rather talk with the foreign country instead of going to war.
“In the meantime that we are not really prepared, just about anything except to talk. And then let us just talk,” he said.
He added: “I cannot imagine myself getting involved in a violent and almost suicide action.”
The President has long said the country cannot stop China from building on Scarborough, adding that he cannot let soldiers die in a war where the country will only lose.
In March, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, reminded him that the president has a constitutional duty to protect Scarborough Shoal as part of the Philippine territory. Carpio enumerated ways by which the country can defend Scarborough without going to war (READ: 5 ways Duterte can defend Scarborough without going to war)
Defending Scarborough Shoal against the Chinese was Duterte’s presidential campaign “promise” and he even said he would ride a jet ski to the dipusted territory to defend the country’s sovereign rights.
The President, however, explained the statement was merely hyperbole.
On Tuesday, he said, “You can read all the legal treaties there claiming this and claiming that. But the problem, I said, is I do not want to criticize the big powers because it was really of their own making.” – Rappler.com