Asia

Philippines won't confront China on weapons in disputed sea

  • A Filipino supporter wears a t-shirt with pictures of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte printed on it as she waits to meet him in Singapore on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

    A Filipino supporter wears a t-shirt with pictures of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte printed on it as she waits to meet him in Singapore on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)  (The Associated Press)

  • Filipino supporters cheer as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives to meet the Filipino community in Singapore on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

    Filipino supporters cheer as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives to meet the Filipino community in Singapore on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)  (The Associated Press)

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the Filipino community in Singapore as they listen and cheer, some taking photos with their smart phones during his speech on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the Filipino community in Singapore as they listen and cheer, some taking photos with their smart phones during his speech on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)  (The Associated Press)

The Philippine foreign secretary says his country won't take any steps against China in response to reports it apparently has installed anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapons on its new artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea.

Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said Friday that while the United States and other countries might take actions to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight in the disputed waters, the Philippines will not take any steps that would reignite tensions.

When asked if the Philippine foreign affairs department plans to issue any statement or ask China to clarify, Yasay said, "We want to make sure that there will be no further actions that will heighten the tensions between the two countries."

Once-hostile ties with China have improved under current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.