Talks with Manila at early date ex­pected


China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS - Mo­jingxi@chi­

China said on Thurs­day it ex­pects talks to be held be­tween Bei­jing and Manila “atan­ear­ly­date”, af­terPhilip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte said on Tues­day that talks on the South China Sea dis­pute are likely within a year.

Speak­ing to re­porters in Manila, Duterte said it was “bet­ter to con­tin­u­ally en­gage China in a diplo­matic di­a­logue rather than anger of­fi­cials there”.

He also said the Philip­pines had no in­ten­tion of rais­ing the ar­bi­tra­tion case over the South China Sea dur­ing a re­gional sum­mit to be held in Laos next month, ac­cord­ing to Reuters.

Ties be­tween Bei­jing and Manila suf­fered af­ter the Philip­pines, un­der its former lead­er­ship, ini­ti­ated an ar­bi­tra­tion again­stChina.

The rul­ing is­sued in July by the Ar­bi­tral Tri­bunal at The Hague, which China called bi­ased and il­le­gal, has harmed­bi­lat­eral ties and put pres­sure on Duterte.

“We wel­come Duterte’s re­marks,” For­eign Min­istry spokesman­LuKang­said at a news­briefin­gonWed­nes­day. CANADAHe said China has al­ways been com­mit­ted to solv­ing dis­putes over the South China Sea through di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion with the coun­tries di­rectly re­lated, in­clud­ing the Philip­pines, in or­der to main­tain re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity.

“We be­lieve that both sides have the abil­ity and also the wis­dom to prop­erly solve re­lated is­sues and push the bi­lat­eral ties back to healthy de­vel­op­ment,” Lu said.

“China ex­pects that bi­lat­eral talks be­tween the two sides could be con­ducted at an early date,” he added.

Jia Duqiang, a re­searcher of South­east Asian stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said the new Philip­pine pres­i­dent has taken a se­ries of steps to ad­just his pol­icy to­ward China, in­clud­ing former Philip­pine pres­i­dent Fidel Ramos’ re­cent visit toHongKong.

“Duterte’s re­marks show that Manila wants to break the cur­rent dead­lock over the South China Sea, and this is also what China wishes to see,” Jia said.

Chen Qinghong, a re­searcher at theChina In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said Duterte has re­al­ized that the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment’s con­fronta­tional pol­icy to­ward China can­not be con­tin­ued.

“The bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween China and the Philip­pines are mov­ing in a good di­rec­tion,” he said.

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