Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with Dr. John Rennie Short, a political analyst and author, and professor of public policy at the University of Maryland.
“This is very strange because Duterte had spent the last few months encouraging closer ties with China. So ramping up the military in the Philippines controlled islands in the Spartly will deepen annoyance of the Chinese,” Short said.
Talking about what kind of response Beijing had to these statements, the analyst said that so far there is no official statement but it is possible that right now Beijing is “assessing its options.”
“They (the Chinese) had considered a close and deepening relationship with Duterte and the Philippines and his recognition of their claims in the South China Sea. So this would seem as a provocative move,” the analyst said.
Duterte in the past had raised some provocative topics and then later said that he was “joking.” So could it be that this time around he is demonstrating a similar tendency?
“He is sort of unpredictable in both his statements and his actions. He has made a number of inflammatory statements previously about President Obama, about the US and so he is the worst of allies for the Chinese due to his unpredictability. At first you think he is your friend but now it seems to be that he is engaging in provocative behavior,” Short said.
“This could be a plan to take attention away from domestic issues towards international, so it could be for domestic consumption other than a real geopolitical move,” the analyst said.
He added that no military personnel have been used yet, so it is possible that it is just rhetoric.
Earlier, Duterte said that the Philippines need to maintain jurisdiction over the South China Sea.