China’s Xi to at­tend APEC sum­mit amid sea dis­putes

Chi­nese FM Yi will visit the Philip­pines to­day

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

BEI­JING/MANILA: Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping will at­tend a sum­mit of the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) group next week, the For­eign Min­istry said yes­ter­day, amid ten­sions be­tween China and the Philip­pines over the dis­puted South China Sea. The APEC meet­ing will take place in Manila from Nov. 17 to 19. APEC’s mem­bers in­clude the United States, China, Ja­pan, South Korea, In­done­sia and Canada, and to­gether ac­count for 57 per­cent of global pro­duc­tion and 46.5 per­cent of world trade.

China has over­lap­ping claims with Viet­nam, the Philip­pines, Malaysia, Tai­wan and Brunei in the South China Sea, through which $5 tril­lion in ship-borne trade passes ev­ery year.

A sum­mit of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions last week, at­tended by both the United States and China, failed to pro­duce a fi­nal state­ment be­cause the del­e­ga­tions could not agree on whether to men­tion the South China Sea dis­pute.

China has been par­tic­u­larly an­gered by a case lodged by the Philip­pines with an ar­bi­tra­tion court in the Nether­lands over the South China Sea. China says it will nei­ther rec­og­nize nor par­tic­i­pate in the case. Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi will visit the Philip­pines to­day to dis­cuss prepa­ra­tions for Xi’s visit and ways to im­prove Bei­jing’s re­la­tions with Manila, China’s For­eign Min­istry said.

“At present, be­cause of rea­sons ev­ery­one knows about, Sino-Philip­pine re­la­tions are fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties. This is some­thing China does not wish to see,” min­istry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news brief­ing.

“China pays great at­ten­tion to re­la­tions with the Philip­pines and is will­ing to ap­pro­pri­ately re­solve rel­e­vant is­sues on the ba­sis of di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion.”

Prior to go­ing to Manila, Xi will at­tend the G20 sum­mit in Turkey, the for­eign min­istry added.

A de­mo­li­tion crew yes­ter­day dis­man­tled one of Manila’s largest makeshift mar­kets and rounded up home­less fam­i­lies to clean up roads ahead of the sum­mit.

Work­ers painted side­walks while dozens of po­lice be­gan pa­trols around the con­ven­tion cen­tre where the meets will be held. “We were told to take a va­ca­tion for two weeks,” Rosa Diaz, a 65-year-old cig­a­rette ven­dor, said as the wreck­ing crew dis­man­tled hun­dreds of stalls sell­ing used clothes, slip­pers and toys out­side a church. “They said we could re­turn af­ter APEC.”

A bishop and left­ist la­bor group crit­i­cized gov­ern­ment’s clean-up cam­paign. “Their so­lu­tion is tem­po­rary,” Manila Aux­il­iary Bishop Brod­er­ick Pa­billo said on ra­dio. “They want to show the vis­i­tors that there are no poor peo­ple, but why can’t we find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion for our poor peo­ple?”

Se­cu­rity deal

The Philip­pine Supreme Court is ex­pected to de­cide that a new US-Philip­pine se­cu­rity agree­ment is con­sti­tu­tional and will an­nounce its rul­ing be­fore Pres­i­dent Barack Obama vis­its Manila next week for an Asia-Pa­cific sum­mit, a source said.

The deal gives US troops wide ac­cess to Philip­pine mil­i­tary bases and ap­proval to build fa­cil­i­ties to store fuel and equip­ment for mar­itime se­cu­rity, but it was ef­fec­tively frozen af­ter left-wing politi­cians and other op­po­nents chal­lenged its con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity last year. The ex­pected rul­ing comes amid grow­ing ten­sion be­tween the United States and China over Bei­jing’s is­land-build­ing in the dis­puted South China Sea.

“I have seen the draft (rul­ing). The court will up­hold its con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity, deny­ing the pe­ti­tion to de­clare it un­con­sti­tu­tional,” said a court source who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied.

The source said the Supreme Court’s 15mem­ber panel still needed to dis­cuss the mat­ter on Tues­day. I f no de­ci­sion was an­nounced at that ses­sion, it would hap­pen on Nov. 16 when the court next con­vened, the source added. Obama will at­tend the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) sum­mit in Manila on Nov 18-19. The En­hanced De­fense Co­op­er­a­tion Agree­ment (EDCA) was signed just days be­fore Obama last vis­ited Manila in April 2014. — Agen­cies

MANILA: A Philip­pine Po­lice chap­lain from the Ro­man Catholic faith sprin­kles holy wa­ter as he blesses ex­plo­sive ord­nance dis­posal equip­ment do­nated by the US Anti-Ter­ror­ism As­sis­tance Pro­gram, dur­ing a turnover cer­e­mony in Manila yes­ter­day. The EOD equip­ment will be used in prepa­ra­tion for the Asia Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) sum­mit to be held in the Philip­pines later this month. — AFP

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