Philippines President Says China Threatened War Over Territory Dispute

The president of the Philippines says China threatened to go to war over who has the rights to the South China Sea.
Posted at 1:57 PM, May 20, 2017

Shortly after taking office, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he was breaking longstanding ties with the U.S. in favor of aligning more closely with China. Now he might be regretting that move.

Duterte says Chinese President Xi Jinping has threatened to go to war with the Philippines over oil in the disputed South China Sea — an increasingly complicated and competitive area.

The South China Sea is a valuable shipping lane, and there could be massive oil deposits under the seafloor. It's in between a lot of countries, six of which have claimed at least part of the sea.

China claimed the biggest chunk of the sea, but an international court ruled that it had no claim to it. But the court has no way to enforce its rulings, so they're only binding if the countries are willing to listen — which China isn't.

Despite the spat, both sides seem to want a diplomatic solution — at least for now.