MANILA, Philippines – Incoming Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr urged China on Wednesday, June 8, to join the Philippines in peacefully resolving their dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
"I would just simply invite China to join us, as we would join them, in making sure that we will be resolving our conflicts and difficulties in a peaceful manner," Yasay said in a Rappler Talk interview on Wednesday.
"We must exhaust everything we can to make sure that as neighbors, we would live together in peaceful co-existence and probably be even proactive in performing such joint ventures for our mutual interest," he added.
Yasay earlier said he is open to holding bilateral or one-on-one talks with China on the West Philippine Sea dispute.
He said on Wednesday that it is "very important" to hold bilateral talks with China. (Watch the full Rappler Talk interview below)
China praises Yasay
"Whatever conflicts or differences that we have with other nations, we must always try to resolve it peacefully and through negotiations," Yasay said.
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he is considering bilateral talks with China, but after exploring a multilateral approach that involves third parties.
Duterte said that the Philippines will "have to talk to China" if there is "no movement" in 3 to 4 years of using the multilateral track.
China has consistently rejected the arbitration case filed by the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea. (READ: China blasts 'unilateral' Philippine move ahead of ruling)
Instead it has pushed for bilateral talks with the Philippines as a friendly way to resolve the dispute. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.