Palace insists Duterte administration friend to all for not joining South China Sea drills
The Philippines is shying away from joining the military exercises in the South China Sea with other countries as its policy is to be a friend to all, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it has been the policy of President Rodrigo Duterte not to participate in military drills in the disputed waters.
"In his (Duterte's) independent foreign policy, all (countries) are our friends. We don't have enemy," he said.
"The President said if some of the actions of the superpowers will result to increased tension, let's avoid such move," Roque added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the Philippines would not participate the navies of other countries, such as the United States, in the maritime drills outside the national waters.
The US Navy has been been sailing in the South China Sea every now and then despite opposition of China.
The South China Sea is being claimed wholly or partially by China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan. Celerina Monte/DMS