MANILA, Philippines – It's time to talk again.
Negotiations between the Philippines and China over the Scarborough Shoal dispute have resumed after Beijing “endorsed” Manila's decision to do so, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday, May 10.
“We will closely follow the development of the situation and further moves by the Philippines,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
The Chinese ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Tong Xiaoling, said Beijing “continued to urge the resumption of dialogue following the suspension.” Tong also confirmed the Philippines has resumed diplomatic talks with the Chinese embassy, said the state-run China Daily.
'No surprises' but...
Negotiations took a break last April as Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario had to fly to the United States for an official function.
Del Rosario later claimed China broke its promise to pull “no surprises” while talks have not resumed.
Mutual distrust has since characterized the diplomatic relations between China and the Philippines in light of the Scarborough Shoal dispute. China, for instance, has doubted a recent statement from President Benigno Aquino III himself.
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.