President Duterte is wrong about the power and influence of international pressure on China. Studies show that arbitral rulings are normally defied if not ignored by losing claimants of contested territories, albeit temporarily. In the course of time, these countries almost always eventually give up and comply with the ruling due to international pressure. We should not miss the ASEAN summit to avail ourselves with that opportunity, lest we would regret it.
He may be correct, though, that decided disputes cannot be resolved militarily, even assuming that we can match China’s military hardware and troops. The same studies say as much.