Duterte dares US to send 7th fleet to South China Sea

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The 7th Fleet is the part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed in Japan, which covers the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 9) — President Rodrigo Duterte dared the United States anew to send its forces to the South China Sea to stop Beijing's actions in the global waterway.

"I have a proposal. Kung gusto talaga ng Amerika na paalisin ang China, hindi ko man kaya, manhingi ako ng tulong sa kanya [If America wants China to leave, I can't make them, I will ask for help] ... I want the whole seventh fleet of the armed forces of United States of America there," he told reporters Monday evening.

The 7th Fleet is the part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed in Japan, which covers the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

"Magpasok sila sa (South) China Sea, magpasok ako. I will ride doon sa Amerikano na mauna doon," he said. "I will invite Carpio, Del Rosario, Morales to ride with me. Then sabihin ko sa Amerikano, 'Sige, pasabugin na natin lahat.'"

[Translation: When they enter the South China Sea, I will enter. I will ride with the American who goes there first. I will invite Carpio, Del Rosario, Morales to ride with me. Then I will tell the Americans, "Okay, let's bomb everything.]

Duterte was referring to staunch critics of the administration's policies on the South China Sea dispute with China, including Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario, and ex-Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

This was not the first time Duterte had dared the United States -- which has been conducting freedom of navigation operations routinely in the South China Sea to challenge what U.S. officials say are China's massive maritime claims and to preserve access to the waterways.

Duterte previously called the American forces to join the Philippines in reclaiming the Spratly Islands. Last week, in another speech, he dared the U.S. to "fire the first shot" at the Chinese in the Spratlys.

China continues to claim virtually the entire South China Sea, despite a 2016 international tribunal ruling which invalidated their claim.

An education on constitutionality

Duterte plans to use his next state of the nation address, scheduled on July 22, to lecture his critics.

He said he will “educate” those who say that his decision to allow chinese fishermen in our exclusive economic zone is unconstitutional.

'Yung ginawa ko na sabi ko “You can fish?” Tama talaga ako. Hindi magiging unconstitutional 'yan," he claimed. “By any stretch of imagination."

[Translation: What I told them that "You can fish?" I am right. It is not unconstitutional.]

Critics such as Carpio, Vice President Leni Robredo, among others, have slammed the President for his verbal deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping allowing Beijing to fish in Philippine waters.

A Chinese vessel in Recto Bank -- part of the Philippines' continental shelf -- rammed and sunk a Filipino fishing boat on June 9. The report from the Philippine Coast Guard and the Maritime Industry Authority on the incident in what is also known known as Reed Bank called what happend a "very serious maritime casualty."

While Duterte agreed with the report, he stuck with his statement that the allision was "a little maritime accident."

"It is serious… pero when you talk about marine, transportation and all: it is a maritime incident," Duterte said. "And that is very small because nobody died.”