MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is waiting for China's go-signal to begin formal talks about the two countries' dispute over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), ABS-CBN News reported.
"We are not pressured into talking with China. We will wait until China is prepared to talk to us," Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr told ABS-CBN News in Malaysia on Saturday, August 13.
"Right now, let's give everybody some space. Let's give everybody the time to reflect," Yasay said.
Yasay made these remarks after the Philippines, through informal talks led by former president Fidel V. Ramos, invited China to "formal discussions" on the sea dispute, among other issues.
Ramos extended this invitation during his informal talks in Hong Kong with former Chinese ambassador to Manila Fu Ying and Professor Wu Shicun, president of China's National Institute for South China Sea Studies.
Their discussions in Hong Kong took place from August 10 to 11.
In his interview with ABS-CBN News, Yasay described Ramos' Hong Kong trip as "a good step forward…to open up the possibility of bilateral engagement with China."
"The important thing is we talk," Yasay said. "Right now, there seems to be a hardline position. But you know, once you just talk and talk and talk, you will relieve tensions and you will open the door for peaceful engagements in the resolution of this 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.