Manila: – Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte reprimanded China in frank words, ‘Philippines has deployed two destroyers in its own marine region. Under any circumstances, these destroyers will not retreat even by an inch. Even if you kill me, the destroyers will stay put. The camaraderie between the Philippines and China can end over this issue.’
The Philippines has deployed two destroyers in its marine sector to watch on the Chinese militia ships that have intruded into the Filipino maritime region for the last few weeks. China had demanded that the Philippines should withdraw its patrol ships. At the same time, China has despatched 287 more militia ships to the region. President Duterte, infuriated with this Chinese arrogance, issued a warning to China.
Two days ago, nearly 287 Chinese ships intruded into the Filipino marine region. Filipino task force accused these Chinese militia ships of spreading in the marine area around the Kalayaan islands. The Philippines said that this deployment of the Chinese vessels in the Filipino maritime region is illegal. A meeting between President Duterte and Defence Minister Lorenzo was held a few hours ago, against the background of the Chinese intrusion. Video of this meeting was released on Friday.
President Duterte has adopted a harsh stand against China. The Philippines has deployed two patrol vessels near the Kalayaan and Mischief Reef islands, in the West Philippines Sea, permanently. President Duterte has given explicit orders that these will not be moved from there.
President Duterte asserted in the meeting, ‘There are two Filipino patrol vessels in the West Philippines Sea, and they will not retreat. This deployment is meant for issuing a warning to China.’ President Duterte said that these patrol vessels would not budge even by an inch, whatever pressures are exerted by China.
President Duterte stated, ‘I am aware that there can be a threat to my life for adopting this stand. But still, I am not going to back out. You can kill me if you want, but I will remain firm on my decision.’ President Duterte issued a serious warning that the Philippines-China camaraderie could end on this issue.
Kalayaan and Mischief Reef are from the Spratly group of islands in the West Philippines Sea. These islands lie only a few kilometres from the Palawan province in the Philippines. The Philippines use the Kalayaan island for tourism. At the same time, China has built artificial islands near the Mischief Reef island and has set up military bases on these islands. In this scenario, China, restless with the deployment of the Filipino patrol vessels, suggested the Philippines withdraw its ships.
A few days ago, the Philippines announced that a fully-equipped military hub would be built on the Thitu island, from the Spratly group of islands. Filipino military chief had claimed that this army hub would help monitor the movements of militia vessels of other countries. The military hub on the Thitu island can pose a threat to Chinese aspirations in this region. The deployment of two patrol vessels, by the Philippines, in the region has made China more restless.
Meanwhile, 200 Chinese militia ships have intruded into the Filipino Juan Philip island’s marine region since March. China claims that the 34 Chinese fishing boats are waiting in this region due to bad weather conditions. The Philippines has ordered its navy and the air force to monitor the activities of these militia ships.