Philippine troops to avoid fighting amid South China Sea disputes
MANILA (AP) - The Philippine military says it will stick to a "no confrontation" policy even as it strengthens its forces with more weapons and looks forward to a larger US military presence in the country as territorial disputes intensify in the South China Sea.
Military chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista told foreign correspondents on Wednesday that the Philippines was building a "minimum credible defense" to protect its territory and "to at least deter or make any aggressor hesitate or think twice before any hostile action".
Gen Bautista refused in a news conference to name China as its military concern.
But the Philippines has repeatedly protested what it calls Chinese intrusions in its territorial waters in recent years, including the seizure of a disputed fishing shoal last year.