The Philippines and China have agreed to pursue bilateral negotiations to resolve the “irritants” in the disputed South China Sea such as the reported presence of Chinese vessels in Pag-asa Island,
Malacañang said yesterday.
The agreement was reached between President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping after discussing the challenges arising from the arbitral ruling on the sea dispute in Beijing last Thursday, according to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing last week.
“Kasi sabi ni Presidente, there have been irritants because of that ruling. And both of them agree that the mechanism of bilateral relations will be used to resolve the conflict,” Panelo said.
“Sabi nga ni President Xi, and the President of ours agreed, we are allies. Allies strengthen each other. Allies do not destroy each other. So maganda iyong kaniyang statement na ibig sabihin, eh kung allies tayo, pag-usapan natin,” he added.
Panelo confirmed that the President raised the arbitral ruling that nullified China’s claims in the disputed waters during the meeting with Xi. China, however, stood firm in refusing to recognize the decision issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016.
“Both sides repeated their previous position on the matter and they both agree na whatever irritants or challenges, pag-usapan natin sa negotiations,” Panelo said. (Genalyn Kabiling)
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