President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that the only force that can match the dragon that is China is the United States of America- this with respect to the activities in the disputed South China Sea.
|In terms of military capability only the American Eagle can match up with the Chinese Dragon in the disputed South China Sea region (photo credit to the owner)|
"Why in hell ang America siya lang talaga ang pwede kumasa doon bakit sabihin niya ngayon magpunta ang Navy ko? It will be a massacre for my soldiers, I will not do it (Why would America tell me to have my Navy sent to the South China Sea when it is the only one that can posture there?)," Duterte said in a speech during the opening ceremonies of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines' 16th National Convention of Lawyers.
The Pres. said that there have been warnings against the Chinese intrusion as early 5 years ago, and the US were duly informed then.
The President said that the US should have addressed Chinese activities in the area as soon as they were informed about it.
"Bakit hindi mo pinuntahan doon? Bakit hindi mo sinita? Bakit hindi ka nagpadala ng limang aircraft carrier at kinasahan mo and you had to wait for the problem to ripen into international issue involving this time so many countries... You could have cut the problem in the bud had you taken a decisive action," Duterte said.
The US government under former President Barack Obama, however, deployed several freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, challenging China's excessive maritime claims.
Pres. Duterte stressed that the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) cannot match China’s military power in case a full scale war starts in the region.
"Wala tayong cruise missiles, wala tayo noon (We don't have cruise missiles, we don't have those). We are no match and we have to be brutally frank to admit it. 'Wag na natin bolahin ang sarili natin (Let's not delude ourselves)," the Pres. said.
Duterte said on Thursday that China assured him that they will not build structures in Panatag Shoal out of respect for its friendship with the Philippines.
With the change of leadership in the White House, the Trump administration has signaled a tougher approach in the region.
|Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group making its freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea (US Navy)|
"We have operated here in the past, we're going to operate here in the future, we're going to continue to reassure our allies," Rear Admiral James Kilby, commander of the San Diego-based Carrier Strike group