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China reaffirms commitment to resolve peacefully South China Sea issue



China reaffirmed its commitment to resolve peacefully the South China Sea issue with other claimant countries including the Philippines.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang made this comment in response to the statement issued by the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday during the first anniversary of the arbitral tribunal’s judgment, which nullified China’s nine-dash line claims in the South China Sea.

”China’s stance on this arbitration has been consistent and clear-cut,” Geng said in a regular conference here.

”While firmly upholding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, China has also been committed to peacefully resolving the relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation with countries directly concerned,” he added.

Geng said China is also working with the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nation) countries to jointly uphold peace and stability in the disputed South China Sea.

Aside from the Philippines, other claimant-countries include Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Geng said China and the Philippines have come back to the right track of peacefully solving the disputes through dialogue and negotiation.

Last May, China and the Philippines held the first meeting of Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea in Guiyang. After six months, the two sides will meet again in Manila.

”The two sides have committed themselves to advancing friendly and pragmatic cooperation in various fields,” Geng said.

”These accords with the common interests of the two countries and peoples as well as the shared aspirations of the regional countries, and is also conducive to further safeguarding the peace and stability in the South China Sea,” he added.

On July 12 last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines but President Rodrigo Duterte decided to temporarily shelved it to give way friendly dialogue and negotiation between two countries.

President Duterte’s decision has resulted in the normalization of China-Philippines relations boosted by his two productive visits in Beijing in October last year and in May this year.

The President also brought home USD24 billion worth of investment pledges and infrastructure projects while other areas of cooperation particularly in economic, trade and people-to-people exchanges with China had rekindled.

Last Wednesday, the DFA said the Duterte administration reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to protect our country’s territorial claims and maritime entitlements "but believes that the ongoing territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea should further be resolved in a manner consistent with spirit of good neighborly relations.”

”President Duterte’s priority of regional peace and stability has led to the healthy environment of dialogue, cooperation, and development,” added in a statement released to the media.

According the DFA statement, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano reiterated that the Duterte administration is committed to its strategy to strengthen old allies and engage new partner nations.

”The Philippines shall remain an enemy to none and a friend to all in its pursuit of economic and political benefits for the country, including the long-term security and stability in the region,” it added.

Jelly F. Musico / PNA  

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