Duterte admits that he can’t use force in South China Sea dispute

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday July 27th that he had no choice but to treat the simmering dispute with China over parts of the South China Sea as diplomatic endeavours, because the alternative was to go to war with China, which the Philippines could not do.

Duterte was speaking in defence of his government’s decision not to press a 2016 decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which went in favour of the Philippines in a case against China. During his annual address to the nation, Duterte said China was in possession of territory that his country did not have the capability to challenge militarily. “We cannot go to war”, he said