STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Beijing should 'temper' its behavior in the South China Sea, Duterte says

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has called for the Chinese government to tone down its behavior in the...

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 12:40 PM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 12:48 PM

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has called for the Chinese government to tone down its behavior in the South China Sea, warning ongoing tensions could spark an accidental conflict.

Speaking Tuesday at the Malacanang Palace in Manila, Duterte said the heavily-contested region could become a "flashpoint."

Asia

Beijing

China

Continents and regions

East Asia

Oceans and Seas (by name)

Physical locations

South China Sea

Political Figures - Intl

Rodrigo Duterte

Philippines

Southeast Asia

North America

The Americas

United States

"I hope that China would temper at least its behavior. I do not want to quarrel with China," he added.

The Philippines and China have been engaged in territorial disputes over parts of the South China Sea for decades, along with Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

Beijing claims an enormous swathe of territory in the region, and has heavily-fortified artificial islands under its control in the Spratly and Paracel chains.

Duterte said despite China's behavior to the contrary, the majority of the South China Sea was international waters. "The right of innocent passage is guaranteed. (Countries) do not need any permission to sail through the open seas," he said.

A 2016 international tribunal case, brought against China by the Philippines, found Beijing's claims to the region for invalid.

To reinforce the region's status as international waters, the US Navy regularly runs "freedom of navigation" operations through Chinese-controlled waters, infuriating authorities in Beijing.

But Duterte said the behavior of the Chinese and US navies in the South China put the region at risk of conflict. "One of these days, a hot head commander there (could) just press a trigger," he said.

Duterte's complicated position

Duterte has regularly changed his tone towards Beijing and its activities in the region, bellicose one second and conciliatory the next.

During his presidential campaign in April 2016, Duterte said he would challenge Beijing's claims in the South China Sea by "riding a jet ski" to the Spratly islands while carrying the Philippines flag.

But shortly after he took power later that year, Duterte proved appeared to move closer to China, declaring a split with the US during a trip to Beijing. He followed that up in April 2018 by saying he "loved" Chinese President Xi Jinping and needed China "more than anybody else at this point."

Just one month later however, Philippines Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano said Duterte hadn't backed down over the South China Sea, and would defend it militarily if necessary.

"(Beijing) said some red lines, we said some red lines ... the President has already said that. If anyone gets the natural resources in the Western Philippines Sea, South China Sea, (Duterte) will go to war. He said, 'whatever happens, happens.' He will go to war," Cayetano said.

China urges US not to interfere

Duterte's speech comes as China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the United States not to interfere in the South China Sea, after CNN joined a US reconnaissance flight over the region.

"Some countries, which are outside of the region, ignore China's firm opposition and conduct reconnaissance in the name of 'freedom of navigation', show off military power, threaten China's sovereignty and the safety of Chinese stationed staff, which could easily cause marine and air accidents, and damage regional peace and stability," the ministry said in a statement sent to CNN.

On Friday, a CNN team was on board the US plane as it flew over Chinese-controlled islands in the Spratly chain. During the flight, the US crew was warned six separate times by the Chinese military to "leave immediately" to avoid a misunderstanding.

In their statement, China's foreign ministry said the US was to blame for the militarization of the region, claiming Beijing was within its rights to "build and deploy defense facilities to its own territory."

"The situation in South China Sea is stable and toward good direction," the statement said. "We urge relevant parties to view the South China Sea issue fairly and reasonably, and play a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability. Not the other way round."

Lafayette
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 26°
Kokomo
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 23°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 19°
Lafayette
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 26°
Danville
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 23°
Frankfort
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 21°
Frankfort
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 21°
Monticello
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 22°
Monticello
Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 22°
Logansport
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 20°
Snow showers tonight....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 592709

Reported Deaths: 9340
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion818931301
Lake44495668
Allen32035543
Hamilton28533305
St. Joseph26847372
Elkhart24132341
Vanderburgh18759213
Tippecanoe17482122
Johnson14583285
Porter14464160
Hendricks13931242
Madison10600213
Vigo10513174
Clark10300132
Monroe9109108
Delaware8861133
LaPorte8825155
Howard7916138
Kosciusko788877
Warrick648290
Hancock642597
Bartholomew629294
Floyd6184105
Wayne5956157
Grant5848110
Dubois546172
Boone536367
Morgan519491
Henry496164
Marshall494984
Cass473160
Noble462157
Dearborn461344
Jackson416145
Shelby404279
Lawrence382075
Clinton366340
Gibson357856
DeKalb338563
Montgomery336651
Harrison332642
Knox328239
Miami311243
Steuben308742
Adams296535
Whitley295525
Wabash293945
Ripley293745
Putnam286847
Huntington285058
Jasper284434
White268438
Daviess262172
Jefferson253138
Decatur242882
Fayette242448
Greene235660
Posey232826
Wells230147
LaGrange224761
Clay218732
Scott217337
Randolph209041
Jennings193235
Sullivan189331
Spencer182717
Fountain180425
Washington178218
Starke172041
Jay163122
Fulton160230
Owen160137
Carroll153015
Orange152133
Rush150818
Perry148727
Vermillion145533
Franklin143833
Parke12908
Tipton128432
Pike114125
Blackford108022
Pulaski95137
Newton89721
Brown85730
Benton84510
Crawford7669
Martin70413
Warren6607
Switzerland6235
Union6145
Ohio4707
Unassigned0374

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events