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China could hit PH, Taiwan amid Russia-Ukraine conflict, Duterte warns

China might attack the Philippines and Taiwan if the conflict between Russia and Ukraine escalated due to the presence of United States forces here, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday.

"Kung lumaki ang gera between Russia and Ukraine, pag sumabog ito, naging nuclear, medyo delikado na tayo, 'Pag nagputok ang isang, alam mo tatamaan talaga tayo," Duterte said Tuesday night at the campaign rally of PDP-Laban.

"Bakit ako nakipagkaibigan, tutal ang Amerika nandito na rin,  kung may gera tatamaan talaga tayo because nandito ang Amerikano at marami silang armas dito," he added.

"Kung magka-leche leche ito, pag sumali ang China, they would probably hit Taiwan and the philippines, sigurado yan. Sigurado ako kasi nandito nga sila, eh kung yung World War 2 walang Amerikano rito eh di walang rason ang mga Hapon na magpunta rito," Duterte also said.

At a campaign rally of the PDP-Laban, Duterte said he had been telling Chinese President Xi Jinping that the Philippines and China had no quarrel.

"Sabi ko kay Xi Jinping, 'brad wala man tayong away, ako nakipag-negotiate sayo'," Duterte said.

He added, "Hindi kasi panahon ng tapang-tapangan ngayon, kasi pag tapang-tapangan ka, ang masalubong mo bomba, wala tayo nyan. Ang ating armaments good only for the insurgency problem, in keeping the integrity of the Filipino land, wala tayong panlabas."

Duterte earlier warned of a Chinese "invasion" should Russian President Vladimir Putin decide to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict.

Duterte said he had no choice but to allow the "unrestricted" presence of the Philippines' treaty ally US in the country.

He indicated the government had no idea what weapons US submarines were carrying despite the Constitutions ban on nuclear weapons.

In June last year, Duterte extended for another six months the suspension of the abrogation of the country's Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the US, the treaty which governs the presence of US soldiers conducting military exercises in the country.

He decided to suspend the termination of the crucial security pact instead of renewing it so that both sides could study and address his "concerns regarding particular aspects of the agreement."

The VFA allows American soldiers to regularly train with their Filipino counterparts in the country.  Duterte ordered it scrapped after the US revoked the visa of his close aide and former police chief, now senator, Ronald Dela Rosa.

Manila formally sought the VFA's termination on Feb. 11, 2020.

The US earlier warned China against providing military or financial help to Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine, as sanctions on Russian political and business leaders mounted and civilians sought to flee intense fighting on the ground.

Two months after warning, senior US officials say they have not detected overt Chinese military and economic support, a welcome development in the tense US-China relationship.

US President Joe Biden is preparing for a trip to Asia later this month to discuss with the region's leaders ways to deal with the rise of China.  His administration is also soon to release its first national security strategy about the emergence of China as a great power.—NB/LDF, GMA News