China to Duterte admin: 'Work in unison with us'
MANILA, Philippines – China on Wednesday, July 6, urged the Philippines to "work in unison" with it after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Manila is ready to talk with Beijing about the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
"We hope that the new Philippine government will work in unison with us, veer away from the wrong path taken by the former government, return to the right track of having dialogue and consultation with China, and make tangible efforts to improve and develop China-Philippines relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a news conference.
Duterte on Tuesday, July 5, said he is open to talking with China after an arbitral tribunal based in The Hague, Netherlands, rules on Manila's case against Beijing over the West Philippine Sea.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration is expected to announce the tribunal's ruling on July 12.
Referring to the upcoming decision, Duterte said on Tuesday, "If it is favorable to us, let's talk."
Reacting to Duterte's statement, Hong on Wednesday pointed out: "Bilateral and friendly dialogue...is the only right and viable way to properly resolve the dispute between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea."
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman also criticized the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III for filing a case against China over the West Philippine Sea. (READ: Aquino: The president who brought China to court)
"The South China Sea arbitration case initiated by the Philippine Aquino administration is illegal, null, and void from the outset," Hong said.
"China will never accept nor recognize whatever ruling the arbitral tribunal may produce. And China does not accept any proposal or action by any country based on the ruling," he added. – Rappler.com