DAVAO, Philippines – The Philippine president says the country's coast guard has monitored Chinese barges at a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, and that they might indicate that Beijing is preparing new construction there that could ratchet up tensions.
Still, President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday he won't raise the territorial dispute at an Asian summit next week in Laos that will be attended by some world leaders, including China's. He said war is not an option at this time given the weak Philippine military.
But Duterte said the Philippines can only take so much with China's insistence that it owns the contested territories.
He said there will be a time when he will make it clear to China that its expansive territorial claims are "totally unacceptable to us."