Amid the heated exchange of statements between the Philippines, China, and other countries with existing claims in the highly contested area of the South China Sea, the Philippines’ incoming president Rodrigo Duterte has questioned America’s loyalty.
Duterte, who will be taking his oath of office on June 30, has recently questioned the United States’ loyalty to his country, especially in its position on the territorial dispute with China. This, came amid the waiting for the decision of the UN tribunal that hears the case, which was filed by the Philippines against China in 2013, Manila-based news website Rappler reported.
Duterte issued the statement amid the country’s anticipation of the decision from the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which the president-elect expects to favor the Philippines. Duterte coursed through the message during the visit of U.S ambassador Philip Golberg.
“Because I told Goldberg, ‘Are you with us or are you not with us? Because if I may decide based on the judgment, I will now start to claim there. I’ll give you an example. The law of the sea gives us the exclusive right over 200 [nautical miles]. If I go there using that privilege of mine, would that be an attack against China or an offense against China?” Duterte was quoted as saying by Rappler.
In 1952, both the United States and the Philippines signed a joint agreement dubbed as the Mutual Defense Agreement, which states that the two countries would protect each other in times of aggression from other countries. The alliance between America and the Philippines dates as far back as World war 2.
In previous reports form Morning News USA, China has repeatedly said it has no intention of recognizing the ruling of the court regardless of the outcome of the case. Instead, China has gotten the support of at least 60 countries, it said support its position on the issue.