NEW YORK CITY (PNA via PLDT) — President Benigno S. Aquino III stood firm on the government’s stance on the West Philippine Sea but maintained that it still wanted to keep “good neighborly relations with China.”
The President reiterated his government’s position on the issue in his speech at the Asia Society here Tuesday.
“As for the Philippines, we wish to maintain good neighborly relations with China. In our competing claims in the West Philippine Sea, we have already drawn the line between what is disputed and non-disputed in terms of where we would never relinquish our sovereign rights,” the President said.
“We have likewise called for the peaceful and rules-based settlement of disputes. From our vantage point, and as we have heard affirmed in our recent state visit to China, this maritime dispute does not define the multi-layered relations between the Philippines and China,” he added.
He also said that the United States of America was the Philippines’ only defense treaty ally who shared the same fundamental values of freedom, democracy and belief in open markets.
“Whenever two partners share the same core values, their relationship is bound to endure,” the President said.
President Aquino was invited by the Asia Society to speak about his administration’s domestic and foreign policy thrusts during his official visit to the United States from September 18 to 23.
Asia Society was founded by John D. Rockefeller III in 1956 to promote greater knowledge of Asia in the U.S. It is a global institution based in New York with offices throughout the U.S. and Asia.