Four-way talks over South China Sea postponed

MANILA, Philippines - The four-way talks between fellow Southeast Asian nations with rival claims over the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) have been postponed, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday, December 7.

The meeting, originally scheduled for December 12 in Manila, was cancelled and will take place at a later date due to "scheduling problems," DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters.

No new date was given.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario explained on November 21 that the talks between the vice foreign ministers of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam would focus on adopting a common position regarding their territorial claims in the South China Sea.

An invitation was not extended to Taiwan, another claimant country, or China, the regional power that has been pushing to assert its sovereignty over virtually all of the disputed region via its controversial 9-Dash line map.

The Philippines is proposing a multilateral approach to resolving the dispute, while China prefers bilateral talks with each claimant country.

China recently decided to include the 9-Dash line map in its new passports, and both the Philippines and Vietnam reacted by refusing to stamp all Chinese travel documents, in the latest development of the row over the South China Sea. - Rappler.com