Duterte: 'Let America declare the war' on China

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 6) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday dared the United States to declare war against China — and he will "do the next".

In a speech at the inauguration of a rice processing complex in Leyte, the President said, "Let America declare the war. Let them assemble all their armaments there in South China Sea. Fire the first shot and I’ll be glad to do the next. May RP-U.S. pact man kaha tayo eh di [then] let us honor it. Do you want trouble? Okay, let’s do it."

The President said the U.S. was using him as bait in the conflict, adding the Philippines "can never win a war against China."

"Ngayon sabi ko, dalhin mo ‘yang lahat ng eroplano mo, barko mo dito sa China, fire the first shot at nandito kami sa likod. Sige, laban tayo kung sinong mapulpog. Totoo. America," he said.

[Translation: Now I say, bring all your planes, ships to China, fire the first shot and we'll be behind you. Go ahead, fight and see who'll get crushed. Truth. America.]

In his speech, Duterte scored the U.S. for not doing anything when China was starting to build structures in the South China Sea even when they knew what was going on.

"Itong America alam nila. May Seventh Fleet sila. Bakit hindi nila pinuntahan doon sa Spratly and say, 'Hey guys, you are not supposed to build an artificial islands in the high seas. That is exactly prohibited by international law, and the fact that you are constructing it within the exclusive economic zone of our friend, the Philippines',” he said.

[Translation: America knew about it. They have a Seventh Fleet. Why didn't they go to Spratly and say, "Hey guys, you are not supposed to build an artificial islands in the high seas. That is exactly prohibited by international law, and the fact that you are constructing it within the exclusive economic zone of our friend, the Philippines."]

He said the U.S. allowed it to happen and is now leaning on the Philippines to enforce laws in the area.

"Tanungin ko sila [I'm asking them]. Are we in possession of China Sea? Because if we are not, it’s all…. You are — sabihin out of your rockers," he said.

The President added he was surprised the U.S. didn't act earlier.

"Now he wants us to tickle China at kapag pumutok itong — ang masakripisyo, papasabugin nila ‘yung Palawan kasi nandiyan ‘yan sila lahat ngayon eh because it’s facing the China Sea. I am not about to order my soldiers to go to the mouths of hell to die na walang kalaban-laban. I cannot do that. Hindi ako natakot," he said.

[Translation: Now he wants us to tickle China and when this blows up — Palawan will be blown up and sacrificed because they're all there now because it's facing the South China Sea. I am not about to order my soldiers to go to the mouths of hell to die unarmed. I cannot do that. I am not afraid.]

Durterte reiterated the country had no fight with China and hit back at critics who tell him China shoould be prevented from fishing in territorial waters.

"Ngayon itong mga u**l na ito gusto nilang — they are attacking me on the collateral na I should bar China from fishing, from destroying… Gusto nila pumunta ako doon. O how do I enforce the arbitral ruling? Magpunta ako doon, dala ko Navy ko and I insist and say, 'Hey, you guys, you go out.' And China, “No, what do you want?” So magka-giyera tayo," he said.

[Translation: Now these fools — they are attacking me on the collateral na I should bar China from fishing, from destroying…They want me to go there. How do I enforce the arbitral ruling. I go there, with the Navy and insist and say, "Hey, you guys, you go out." And China, “No, what do you want?” So we have a war.]