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tinyfav.com November 24, 2017


PH thanks Trump for offering to mediate maritime row

15 November 2017, 01:58 | Myrtle Vega

Global summit on Indo Pacific development

Dr Subhash Chandra

"Meanwhile, we hope the countries outside the region will respect regional countries' efforts in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea and constructively contribute to that", Geng said.

Southeast Asian nations will not take a relative calm in the dispute over the South China Sea for granted, according to a draft of a statement to be issued during a summit meeting in Manila on Monday.

Philippines President Duterte recommended avoiding confrontation and leaving the situation in the disputed South China Sea "untouched".

ASEAN member states leaders of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are in Manila to attend the summit.

In a press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Asean maintained its stance to pursue "peaceful" negotiations with China to resolve sea disputes.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Sunday said the Philippines appreciates the offer of United States President Donald Trump to fill in a mediator role in the existing dispute between China and littoral countries in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

"It's our policy to settle disputes in the East Sea through peaceful negotiations and with respect for diplomatic and legal process in accordance with global law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea", he said, referring to the South China Sea.

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"He acknowledged that war can not be promoted by anybody, (that) it would only mean destruction for all of us", Duterte told reporters after flying back to Manila. Duterte took steps to thaw frosty relations with China after he won the presidency a year ago.

"If you go to the negotiating table and you start with the statement 'that I am here to claim validity of our ownership, ' you're wasting your time".

Vietnam has become the most vocal opponent of China's moves after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte softened his country's stance on China.

"China has graciously agreed to a code of conduct and it binds itself to the agreement", Duterte said.

Tensions between the two communist neighbours have flared again in recent months over the disputed waters.

"We tried to put some structures in one of the sandbars near our island and the Chinese reacted", Lorenzana told a diplomatic forum in Manila, adding that Duterte later ordered, "Let's pull out". The US and Chinese militaries have had frequent standoffs in the area, with Beijing accusing the US of damaging China's sovereignty and security interests.



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