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China open to dialogue with PH

China has welcomed Manila’s intention to reboot dialogues and negotiations with Beijing over their territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea. That is if the Philippines truly intends to do so, according to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Speaking during a recent press briefing with Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion after the first annual meeting between Chinese and Canadian Foreign Ministers, Foreign Minister Wang said China’s door of dialogue and negotiation with the Philippines is always open since this is the proper way to settle disputes and is conducive to breaking the deadlock in bilateral relations in recent years.

He said this is also beneficial to the joint implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) between China and the member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as safeguarding peace and stability in the region.

“China is glad to see a new Philippine government that makes wise choices on this regard,” said Wang during the press briefing part of the transcript posted in the official website of the Chinese Embassy in Manila on Monday.

The Chinese official was reacting to recent reports that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte expressed his willingness to pursue independent foreign policies and make own decisions regarding the direction of China-Philippines relations. At the same time, incoming Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay expressed his intention to return to the track of dialogue and negotiation with respect to the South China Sea issue.

Foreign Minister Wang also pointed out that some countries are strengthening military alliance in the Asia-Pacific region and pressuring maritime disputes by sending fleets and jets because of the territorial disputes.

Instead of pursuing outdated Cold War mentality such as drawing lines for allies or showing off military power, Wang said these disputes and issues left by the history in the Asia-Pacific region should be peacefully resolved through direct dialogues and negotiations by parties concerned. (ROY MABASA)