Yasay to raise South China Sea issue in ASEAN
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr is set to raise the South China Sea issue before his counterparts at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
In a statement Friday, July 22, the DFA said, "The Secretary will share the Philippines' perspectives on ASEAN community-building, the developments in the South China Sea and Korean Peninsula, and pressing issues of regional concern including violent extremism, trafficking in persons, illegal drugs, and climate change, among others."
The 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings in Vientiane, Laos, from Saturday to Tuesday, July 23 to 26, will be Yasay’s first ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.
This, too, will be Yasay’s second international meeting. Earlier in July, Yasay attended the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Mongolia, where he also discussed the dispute over the South China Sea.
The Philippines claims parts of the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting comes after an arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, invalidated China’s expansive claim over these disputed waters.
Bilateral meetings also set
In its statement on Friday, the DFA added that Yasay, on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, "will have bilateral meetings with several counterparts."
Through these separate meetings, Yasay and his counterparts will "exchange views on matters affecting bilateral relations and common concerns on global and regional issues."
China, however, scoffs at the idea of raising the South China Sea dispute before the global community. (READ: 'Game of diplomats' begins in West Philippine Sea)
The Asian giant prefers to settle the sea dispute on a bilateral or one-on-one basis with claimant countries.
The Philippines said it is open to bilateral talks with China, but China said it refuses negotiations that will be based on the recent Hague ruling.
Manila asserts that this ruling will be the "baseline" for future talks with Beijing. – Rappler.com
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