China breaks silence on ‘threat of war’ if PH drills for oil, gas

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying finally broke its silence on remarks by President Rodrigo Duterte that President Xi Jinping had threatened “war” if the Philippines insists on drilling for oil or gas in disputed territory in the South China Sea.

“China is willing to work with the Philippines to handle disputes peacefully,” she told reporters.

Recently, President Duterte said he discussed it with Xi when the two met in Beijing, and got a firm, but friendly warning.

“We intend to drill oil there, if it’s yours, well, that’s your view, but my view is, I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth, because it is ours,” Duterte said in a speech, recalling his conversation with Xi.

“His response to me, ‘we’re friends, we don’t want to quarrel with you, we want to maintain the presence of warm relationship, but if you force the issue, we’ll go to war.”

President Duterte admired Xi and he would raise the arbitration ruling with him, but needed first to strengthen relations between the two countries.

In the Hague, at the end of a case brought by Philippines against China, was largely in favor of the Philippines. But China never recognized the case.

The Hague award clarifies Philippines sovereign rights in 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone to Access offshore oil and gas fields, including the Reed Bank, 85 nautical miles off its coast.


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