President Duterte the Philippines and Taiwan could be hit if China throws its support behind Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
At a campaign rally in Cainta, Rizal, Duterte said he was avoiding taking sides in the Russia-Ukraine war because doing so could put the country in peril.
“If the war between Russia and Ukraine escalates into a nuclear war, we are in danger. We will be hit. That’s why I’m being friendly,” he said in Filipino.
He said the Philippines would likely be targeted because US troops use the country’s bases and facilities.
“In case of war, we will be a target because of the presence of Americans and their weapons here,” Duterte said.
The US has provided Ukraine armaments, including drones, anti-tank and anti-air munitions, and heavy artillery to fight Russia.
The President said the Philippines could not afford to be hostile because it does not have enough weapons to fight.
He once again said the country would have no chance in a war with China, and said the crisis over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would continue after he steps down from office in June.
“We cannot fight outside of the country. If the situation gets out of hand and China joins in, they would probably hit Taiwan and the Philippines. That’s for sure. I’m sure of it,” he said.
In April, Duterte and Xi expressed deep concern over the Russia-Ukraine conflict, hoping that the two countries would seek a peaceful settlement.
Thousands have reportedly been killed and more than 10 million have fled to neighboring countries since Russia launched an unprovoked war on Ukraine on Feb. 24.