During a discussion about the ongoing territorial dispute in the South China Sea, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte maintained that the United States of America would never die for the Philippines.
“America would never die for us… If America cared, it would have sent its aircraft carriers and missile frigates the moment China started reclaiming land in contested territory, but no such thing happened,” Duterte told visiting military attachés from 20 countries including the USA at a door-closed meeting held in the Philippines.
Clarifying issues raised regarding the contested waters, Duterte asserted that the Philippines only wanted to defend its right to fish in the West Philippine Sea. He noted that several fishing grounds in the region were main sources of food and livelihood for numerous Filipino fishermen.
“Why can’t you leave us alone? Allow us to fish in the area, which we’ve been doing for centuries. Those are important sources of food for us. Are you going to kill us with hunger?” Duterte said, addressing to the Chinese military attaché.
“Don’t oppress us. You’re already a rich country while lots of our people are poor. We’re not going to make war. Will you allow us to die of hunger?” he added.
Duterte also stressed that Filipino fishermen should not have been barred by China as some parts of the disputed region were within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The American and Chinese military attachés, for their part, have not yet disclosed any statement.
Aside from the Philippines and China, other countries Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam were also claimants in the South China Sea.