The Philippines will not pull out its ships in the West Philippine Sea despite “debt of gratitude” to China, announced President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday.
“Mga barko natin, nandiyan sa Pag-asa island…we will not move an inch, but we will not go to war with China,” Duterte said.
“May utang na loob tayo sa China. Malaki. Buhay ang naitulong nila sa atin,” he added.
The President was referring to the donation by the Chinese government of at least one million doses of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines. This was in addition to the 25 million Sinovac jabs that the Philippine government bought from China.
Duterte then asked China to understand the Philippines’ position.
“Sana maintindihan niyo ang bayan namin. Kung hindi, magkakaroon ng problema,” he said.
However, the President expressed his doubts on whether the United Nations could really help the Philippines in defending its legal claims in the West Philippine Sea.
“Kailan pa ba naging useful ang United Nations? Puro papel. Hindi niyo alam eh, nasa taas kayo,” he said.