Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in Beijing. REUTERS/Etienne Oliveau/Pool
Reuters: Duterte says China's Xi threatened war if Philippines drills for oil
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday Chinese counterpart China Xi Jinping had warned him there would be war if Manila tried to enforce an arbitration ruling and drill for oil in a disputed part of the South China Sea.
In remarks that could infuriate China, Duterte hit back at domestic critics who said he has gone soft on Beijing by refusing to push it to comply with an award last year by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which ruled largely in favor of the Philippines.
Duterte said he discussed it with Xi when the two met in Beijing on Monday, and got a firm, but friendly warning.
"We intend to drill oil there, if it's yours, well, that's 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," Duterte said in a speech, recalling his conversation with Xi.
"His response to me, 'we're friends, we don't want to quarrel with you, we want to maintain the presence of warm relationship, but if you force the issue, we'll go to war."
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Update #1: Philippines' Duterte: China threatened 'war' over sea row (AFP)
Update #2: Duterte: China warned PH of war over South China Sea (ABS-CBN)
WNU Editor: Beijing is not denying the story.