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Aquino: China to be ‘reasonable’

NEW YORK (AFP) – President Aquino said Tuesday that he expected China to be “reasonable” over tense territorial disputes so long as Beijing is given a way to save face.

Aquino, who recently visited Beijing in a bid to ease high tensions over the resource-rich South China Sea, said it was crucial to try to understand the other side’s position and identify areas of agreement.

“In their particular case, the concept of saving face is (so) important,” Aquino said at the Asia Society in New York, which he is visiting to take part in the annual United Nations General Assembly.

“We think they will be reasonable, but they also need to have some means that their face is preserved,” Aquino said.

But Aquino stood by his position that China should reach an agreement with the full 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea.

“If we do it on a bilateral basis then we will just be exaggerating and exacerbating the problem of competing claims,” Aquino said.