Philippines President Rebukes US Goals in Region

Doesn't Care That China Is Building Islands

by Jason Ditz, December 29, 2016

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte responded angrily to media reports that the US is seeking his removal from power, saying that while he hasn’t had any intelligence reports to back up the media’s allegations, he assumes US diplomats are “in cahoots with” the CIA anyhow.

Duterte has repeatedly criticized US policy in the region around the South China Sea, accusing the Obama Administration of trying to get the Philippines sucked into a war with China. Today, he reiterated that he doesn’t want to see a military confrontation with China.

Asked on the major “concerns” of the US, Duterte dismissed them, saying the maritime claims can be discussed in the future, whenever everyone is “ready” to talk about them, and that he really doesn’t care in the least about China’s construction of islands in the South China Sea.

Duterte insisted the only thing that would make the maritime dispute an issue is if China started extracting resources fromĀ  the Philippines’ maritime claims, saying that until it became a matter of money there was no reason to argue about it.

The Philippines may ultimately want to negotiate with China on such extraction anyhow, lacking the major deep-sea drilling companies to do the job themselves, and not necessarily wanting to try to contract it out to an American company.

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