Talks with Manila at early date expected
Updated: 2016-08-25 09:04
By MO JINGXI(China Daily)
China said on Thursday it expects talks to be held between Beijing and Manila "at an early date", after Philippine 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 against China.
The ruling issued in July by the Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague, which China called biased and illegal, has harmed bilateral ties and put pressure on Duterte.
"We welcome Duterte's remarks," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a news briefing on Wednesday.
He 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," Lus aid.
"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 to Hong Kong.
"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 the China 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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