Use opportunity APEC presents to mend ties with China to pave way in solving territorial row

Beryson sa Filipino.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today urged the government to grab the opportunity presented by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit to repair our diplomatic relations with China that has been strained in recent years over maritime territorial disputes.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China has confirmed that China’s President Xi Jinping will attend the APEC summit Manila is hosting next week.

Earlier, a UN tribunal ruled it could hear some of the complaints of the Philippines against China regarding the West Philippine Sea territorial dispute. China had refused to recognize the authority of the arbitration court on the matter.

“I think we should take every opportunity to talk to the Chinese, be it formally, be it informally. We have to come up with a solution between the Chinese and the Philippines,” said Marcos in a radio interview Tuesday with Leo Lastimosa over DYAB-Cebu.

The Senator said that while the two sides agreed not to raise the issue of maritime dispute in the APEC summit, it presents a rare opportunity for top-level talks between leaders of the two countries.

“As long as the two sides are talking there is hope we can find a peaceful solution to the territorial dispute,” said Marcos.

Marcos noted that China recently softened its hard-line stance and expressed openness to discuss the territorial dispute on the basis of International Law.

He noted that previously China staked its claim on the nine-dash line—a demarcation line covering majority of the disputed maritime territories citing China’s historic rights while the Philippines anchored its claim based on the UNCLOS, or International Law.

“For the first time ay pumayag iyung China na pag-usapan within the framework of International Law. I think that we should take this opportunity and bring up the subject at every chance that we can,” said Marcos.

On the other hand the Senator said the Philippines should pursue its case before the UN arbitration tribunal.

“I think dapat ipagpatuloy natin iyung ating sinimulang adjudication sa UN dahil maliwanag naman na ang pagkakataon na ito is an opportunity for the Philippines to present its case in an objective forum. It is a good development sa Pilipinas na tinanggap ang kaso ng UN adjudication,” Marcos said.

Marcos stressed however that the arbitration case will not solve by itself the territorial dispute between the two countries so Manila should explore all avenues for possible solutions, including bilateral talks with China.

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