Manila urged to 'walk out of its wrong path'

Updated: 2016-07-21 07:53

By Zhang Yunbi(China Daily)

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Beijing has urged Manila to "walk out of its wrong path" after the top Philippine diplomat refused China's proposal to put aside the recent ruling in an arbitration case concerning the South China Sea.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay told Philippine television ABS-CBN on Tuesday that when he met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Mongolia last week, he declined China's proposal to reopen bilateral negotiations by disregarding the arbitral ruling announced on July 12.

In response, the Foreign Ministry's Spokesperson Office told China Daily in a written reply on Wednesday that "there is still time if timely remedy is made" by Manila.

"China expects the Philippines to walk out of its wrong path at an early date, chart a new course, meet China halfway and once again return to the consensus on resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation," the office said.

As the unilateral initiator of the arbitration case, Manila has "paid huge amounts of money" from taxpayers to the Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague as well as to the lawyers from the West, the office said.

Chen Qinghong, a researcher on Philippine studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that if the administration of new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte persists in a hardline stance toward China and tries to use the ruling for bargaining, this may trigger countermeasures by Beijing.

"Still, shelving the arbitration is the best option, as it offers considerable space for navigating the relationship out of deadlock," Chen said.

Alsoon Wednesday, US Vice-President Joe Biden assured key ally Australia that there would be no retreat from Washington's so-called pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, regardless of who wins November's presidential election.

Biden said in Sydney that the US military would continue to underpin freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, Reuters reported.

Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said the US military's presence in the South China Sea only worsens the situation in the region.

US "freedom of navigation" actions - approaching or even intruding on territorial waters - and military drills led by the United States and its allies are "drastically provocative, and such actions should stop immediately", Zhang said.

Recently, Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, called for strengthened combat readiness and well-organized naval and air patrols to "resolutely and properly tackle various emergencies" and safeguard border security.

Fan made the call during a recent inspection of the People's Liberation Army Southern Theater Command, PLA Daily reported on Wednesday.