President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has assured his administration will not engage in an arms race with its neighboring countries amid the escalating military presence of China in Asia.
The President made the remark on Wednesday during his dialogue with World Economic Forum President Børge Brende, when asked if he is considering emulating the increased arms spending of Japan.
Japan earlier announced it would double its defense budget to counter possible military threats from China and North Korea.
“There is no point in the Philippines building up its armory. First, we are not in an economic situation that we are able to build up to the levels that the Americans had, to the levels that the Chinese have and more importantly perhaps is our abiding belief that the solutions are not going to be military,” the President stressed.
He noted any military engagement in Asia would ultimately be “disastrous” for the entire world.
The President cited the case of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, which affected the global price of food and energy.
“I think all of us were quite surprised, especially us in the Philippines, to think that a war in Eastern Europe would affect agriculture in the Philippines and I guess it just goes to show how well connected that is,” Marcos said.
He maintained all parties in Asia should resolve their differences through diplomatic means.
“If you have been listening to the Asean pronouncements, it is always to the rule of law, it is always UNCLOS (United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea) that we talk about,” Marcos said.