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Duterte on why China’s building on Scarborough ain’t a big deal: Entitlements lang naman, hindi teritoryo


President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday (March 19) downplayed China’s plan to build a radar station on Scarborough Shoal, saying it has nothing to do with the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In a briefing with Filipino reporters in Myanmar, Duterte reiterated his stand that he will only bring up the ruling of an international tribunal on the South China Sea when China begins extracting natural resources found in the disputed waters.

“Entitlements lang naman, hindi naman teritoryo. Eh ang teritoryo, it is not within — I said repeatedly it is not within our territorial waters,” he said.

Duterte said the Philippine government is exerting efforts so the country will have its own entitlements.

“Ang nakuha lang diyan is the economic zone but ‘yung structures na ‘yan has nothing to do with the economic zone,” he said.

China said its radar station will be built for environmental reasons. However, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has warned that Beijing may use the structure to enforce an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and grab 80 percent of the EEZ.

Before flying to Myanmar, Duterte said the Philippines cannot stop China from building structures in the South China Sea.

He repeated his statement to Filipino reporters in Myanmar.

“Hindi nga natin mapigilan kasi hindi natin kaya ang China. Hindi nga mapigilan ng Amerikano. In the first place, pag umpisa pa lang niyan, hindi na pumunta ang Amerikano, natakot na,” he said.

Duterte said the country is not in a position to declare war because the country’s military might is no match to China’s.

He, however, said it is high time there is a Code of Conduct for China and the ASEAN in light of what is Beijing is doing in the South China Sea.