MANILA - Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said the government will maintain the status quo in the West Philippine Sea despite the independent foreign policy being pursued by President Duterte.
Lorenzana said this is being done to "avoid miscalculations."
The defense chief reiterated, "We don’t have assets to confront China."
Duterte is pursuing a foreign policy strategy that political spectators have described as pro-China.
In a press conference following his trip at the ASEAN Summit and state visit in Indonesia, Duterte said China has vowed to help his administration's ongoing war on illegal drugs.
He also thanked Beijing for its generosity in assisting his administration's war against drugs, and said the US government can do better in assisting the Philippines.
On Tuesday evening, Duterte said he is looking at getting military equipment from China and Russia.
Speaking in front of members of the Philippine Air Force at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Duterte said possible deals with Russia and China are "in the pipeline" and that "offers are coming in." However, he did not discuss the details of the proposals.
Duterte also said China offered airplanes to the Philippines because Beijing is "worried" about him.
"Ang China nagsabi daw na they are worried of me. Kaya nag-offer na magbigay ng eroplano (China said they are worried about me. So they offered to give airplanes)," he said.
He added that China may have offered military equipment because Beijing is "also thinking of the other guy," referring to the United States, with which he clarified the Philippines is not cutting military ties.
"Andiyan iyan eh (It is already there). Who am I to [do away with] a treaty?" he said.
However, the country will also be "independent" and will welcome other possibilities when it comes to procuring equipment or weaponry for the armed forces. - with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News