China willing to work with PH on peaceful resolution to West PH Sea dispute

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MANILA, Philippines  –  China is willing to work with the Philippines on the outcome of the bilateral consultations on the issue of territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea that is set to start in a few days.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent visit to  China for the ‘One Belt One Road’ summit, Ambassador Jose Santiago Santa Romana disclosed that bilateral talks between the two government on maritime dispute have been set and is to be held in Beijing starting May 19.

In a regular press conference on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying confirmed that the two leaders have reached “important consensus on properly resolving the South China Sea issue through dialogue and consultation”.

The Chinese official said these serves the fundamental interest of both countries as well as the interest of peace and stability of the South China Sea and beyond.

China likewise commended the Philippine leader for his commitment to conducting peaceful dialogue and cooperation in jointly preserving peace and stability in the region.

“China would like to work with the Philippines to implement the relevant consensus reached between the two leaders, and maintain the long-term development of bilateral relations as well as peace and stability in the South China Sea, which is also in line with the responsibilities that must be shouldered by China and the Philippines as regional countries,” said Hua in a statement.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed optimism that the bilateral talks will finally succeed and bring peace to the erstwhile tension-filled flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Since my state visit last year, the Philippines and China have seen the valued friendships become stronger. I look forward to productive discussions today to continue this positive engagement to further deepen our relations,” said Duterte upon landing in Manila on Monday.