The Philippines has boosted its presence in contested areas of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), together with Thitu island, close to Chinese navy installations, in defiance of the months-long presence of a whole bunch of Chinese boats it believes are manned by militia.
Duterte’s remarks in a televised handle aired on Friday come as strain builds on him to desert his pursuit of shut ties with China and stand as much as what his protection chiefs say are blatant provocations.
“We have a stand here, and I want to state it here and now again that our ships there … we will not move an inch backward,” Duterte mentioned.
“I do not want a quarrel, I do not want trouble. I respect your position, and you respect mine. But we will not go to war,” Duterte mentioned.
“I will not withdraw. Even if you kill me. Our friendship will end here.”
There was no speedy response to a request for remark from the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
Duterte has been criticized for refusing to press China to abide by a 2016 arbitration ruling on the South China Sea that went in Philippines’ favor.
He drew flak final week for saying the landmark award was only a “piece of paper” he might throw within the trash. In his televised handle, he mentioned he “believes in the entirety” of that ruling.