Malacañang on Wednesday said Manila will not engage in an arms race and will continue employing the “rules-based and diplomatic approach” in peacefully resolving the issues concerning the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. was reacting to a statement made by Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who projected the possibility of an arms race among claimant countries in the disputed territories.
China claims most of the South China Sea, overlapping with areas the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan deem to be their territory.
Coloma said Carpio may have a reasonable basis for his analysis but the Philippines is focused on coming up with a peaceful solution to its dispute with China.
Carpio on Tuesday said countries with claims to areas in the South China Sea will beef up their military presence and capabilities until the international arbitral tribunal makes a ruling on the maritime dispute.
He was at the Senate on Tuesday where he gave a closed-door briefing to senators on the West Philippine Sea issue.
The executive department has asked Congress to increase defense and security spending in the 2016 budget and cited the threat posed by China.