Philippines' Duterte: China threatened 'war' over sea row

Duterte's approach differs from that of his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, who looked to the US for support, including in Manila's bid to take China to court over South China Sea territorial disputes.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said the text of the framework would remain secret for now, and Philippine officials said it would be submitted to foreign ministers for consideration in August.

The two countries are telling the global community that they are capable of handling issues of common concern without a third party's interference, Wu stressed.

Along with the Philippines, ASEAN members Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei also maintain claims in the South China Sea that overlap with those of China and Taiwan.

China claims almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea, including islands more than 800 miles from the Chinese mainland, despite objections from neighbours such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

But China refused to turn it into a legally binding code of conduct, using the intervening time to build its artificial islands.

The first meeting of the China-Philippines bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea is held in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, May 19, 2017. But I'm saying let's start with it being binding, gentlemen's agreement. "We would want to maintain the present warm relationship but if you force the issue, we will go to war".

The agreement suits China's goal of managing rather than solving the disputes, with Beijing still certain that it will eventually reach solutions through bilateral talks, Huang said.

"We will continue to engage them in diplomatic conversation and communication", he said. According to him, "I told him frankly, we intend to drill oil there, if it's yours, well, that is your view, but my view is, I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth because it is ours".

This nullified China's "nine-dash line", which ate up around 85 percent of the South China Sea.

"[Xi Jinping] replied to me, 'We are friends. As (Duterte) told President Xi (Jinping), there will still be problems, but we are willing to discuss the issues with the Chinese side and he is optimistic that the bilateral negotiations and bilateral dialogue is the way to go", Romana said.

Philippine and Chinese delegations initialed the terms of reference (TOR) that would be a platform for confidence-building measures to promote maritime cooperation and security, a joint press release from a meeting meant to manage disputes in the South China Sea said on Friday. We don't want to quarrel with you.

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in sea-borne trade passes every year.

On Thursday, China and ASEAN officials met in Guiyan, China and agreed to a framework for the COC. "We avoid violence and we avoid war because frankly, we can not afford it, and China can not afford it also at this time".

  • Zachary Reyes