Duterte warns of "small guy" with 'dangerous toys"; tours Australia's biggest ship

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

(UPDATES with quotes from Australian ambassador, Duterte speech, and photo gallery of ship)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 10) — President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed the arrival of the Australian navy's biggest ship to the Philippines as a sign of solidarity amid North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Duterte warned of "the small guy there in North Korea" with "dangerous toys" and said the visit of the HMAS Adelaide was timely.

"It would be also to our advantage if you just go around showing solidarity with the rest of the world. Not only because we face so many challenges and threats, but the small guy there in North Korea is playing with dangerous weapons," he said in a short speech aboard the ship, which is the largest ever built for the Australian Navy.

"And I hope it would not deteriorate into something violent, but you can never know what's in the criminal mind," the President added.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's recent missile and nuclear tests, including its recent largest hydrogen bomb test in September, and his threats to bomb U.S. targets, have raised the specter of war.

China, considered an ally of North Korea, is still widely seen as the only foreign power with some influence in keeping the volatile Kim in check.

Duterte cited China, as he grappled with the pronunciation of Kim's name.

"China appears to be the only monkey wrench in the violent plans of Kim Un --- Un Jun --- I can't even pronounce the g****** stupid name," said the President. "You have to keep watch over him. And it is always good to be prepared," he added.

Duterte said the Philippines will always stand by Australia and its allies and called on all to stop the North Korean leader.

"That is why we reiterate our full support with our Australian friends, Americans, and even Chinese, Malaysian, all, to show to this one guy that he has to stop threatening the world. Because he runs the risk of being destroyed first," he said.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely cited "strong defense ties" between Australia and the Philippines and their common goals of ensuring maritime security and regional stability.

Aid to Marawi

Duterte also mentioned the four-month-old fighting in Marawi City against the ISIS-linked Maute group, and the threat of terrorism.

"We're coping up. We hope that it would be finished in about one week. We have suffered casualties, the biggest so far in my, in present years. And I am sad that terrorism has arrived in my land," he said.

Ambassador Gorely noted the 20 million-Australian dollar package extended by the country to the Philippines for residents in Marawi City displaced from their homes and for peace-building efforts.

She reiterated that Australia will not be providing troops on the ground and that any military assistance was limited to intelligence sharing and surveillance support from two aircraft, and "an enhanced package of training to the Philippine armed forces" from Australian military personnel.

"We'd like to make it clear that there will be no Australian military troops on the ground... in Mindanao or in the Marawi area," she added.

The ship's lifesaving capabilities

Wearing a black and yellow HMAS Adelaide cap, Duterte boarded the ship which was docked at Pier 15 of the Manila Port. Accompanying the HMAS Adelaide is a guided missile frigate, the HMAS Darwin.

"Their arrival is part of the Australian Defence Force's Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2017, a deployment to East Asia to provide regional countries the opportunity to gain understanding of the ships' capability especially in the conduct of humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations," a statement from the Philippine Navy said.

The Adelaide's main function is humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. During its brief call, it will be showcasing the ship's features to their local counterparts .

Here's an idea of what's on board the ship: a 40-bed hospital with two operating theaters; a flight deck that can accommodate up to 12 helicopters, more than 100 vehicles, and 2,100 tons of cargo.

"We have 1,300 members the Australian Defense Force; that's  navy, army, and air force, especially civilian defense force onboard supporting us for this deployment," said HMAS Adelaide's Commanding Officer Captain Jonathan Earley.

The President was toured around the ship's well dock, medical facility, flight deck, and the Bridge & Flight Control Office

Duterte - in jest - said if the Australian Navy decides to decommission HMAS Adelaide, they are more than free to leave it behind.

"The captain said that if you decide to decommission this one and come up with a new one, just park it here. I'll give you the ticket back home to Australia," he said.

Senior Desk Editor Lara Parpan and Senior Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.