We will go to war. We will fight you.
This was the warning dished out by Chinese President Xi Jinping, when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said his country was planning to dig for oil in the disputed South China Sea.
Duterte had a meeting with Xi early this week in Beijing while attending the China-sponsored Road and Belt Forum.
Back in the country and detailing his meeting with XI on television on Friday, May 19, Duterte said that the Chinese President warned him China would go to war if the Philippines would use an arbitral ruling to insist on its claim over the South Sea China.
Xi, according to Duterte, threatened war when he mentioned about the Philippines’ intent to dig oil in the territory.
The Hague-based Arbitral Court had ruled in favor of the Philippine claim over parts of the South China Sea, that it has called the West Philippine Sea.
China has dismissed the ruling saying the South China Sea is historically owned by China since several dynasties ago.
Xi supposedly made the threat of war when Duterte said the Philippines will someday drill oil in the West Philippine Sea since it is within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Duterte narrated the drift of their conversation.
‘It’s ours. I’d like you to listen for a while, “ Duterte recalled telling Xi. “ Mr. Xi Jinping, I would insist that that is ours and I will drill oil there.”
“Well, we are friends. We do not want to quarrel with you. We would want to maintain the present warm relationship. But if you force the issue, we will go to war,” said the Chinese President.
“This is ours, I’ll drill the oil, ‘ Duterte said.
Xi, according to Duterte, did not like this.
“Please do not do that because that is ours,” Xi said.
“But I have the arbitral,” Duterte said.
“Yes, but ours is historical and yours is legal of recent memory,” Xi told Duterte.
“Well, if you force the issue, we’ll be forced to tell you the truth. So what is the truth? ‘We will go to war. We will fight you,” said Xi.