Erratic Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte offered to sell disputed islands in the South China Sea, a move certain to alarm American military leaders. He made the comments Tuesday and the remarks seem to have been intended to relieve Chinese anger over the Philippines stationing military personnel and infrastructure on land both countries claim.
“We do not mean harm to China. We are friends, as a matter of fact. Maybe when we get rich, very rich, I can sell the land to you for—inyo na when the spectacle of a war is gone and nothing is dangerous to the Philippines,” reported GMA News Online.
“So, for the information of China, we are not going to place there any offensive weapons, not even one gun. We are just there to claim the island for us because that is really ours,” Duterte said. “And I have ordered the Armed Forces to build structures there to signify to all na atin ito ang lagyan ng flag and structures. We do not mean harm to China. We are friends.”
“China can relax. We are friends. We will not go to war with you. We’re just trying to maintain the balance of the geopolitical situation there.”
Last year, the Philippines won an a verdict at a U.N. tribunal over the issue, which China declared they would ignore. China has militarized many of the man-made islands in an attempt to control international sea lanes in the region.
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