It has been clear for both China and the Philippines that neither is willing to give up their maritime claims. However a foreign officer said on Sunday that it might be possible to work out agreements on fishing, private oil and gas exploration  with them while avoiding conflict.

Ambassador Rosario Manalo, a participant in a recent conference on the South China sea gave the remark after the team led by former President Fidel Ramos returned from China and said that the initial talks were “encouraging”.

The conference was attended by experts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

“The political will [of China and the Philippines] is the key to settling the disputes in the South China Sea,” Manalo said.

PH envoy to China: Work with them, but stay firm on claims
Photo by Asialink Echo
Manalo said she supports the diplomatic track chosen by Duterte which encourages talks with China within the framework of a regional code of conduct in the South China Sea.

“President Duterte is a realist and a pragmatic man,” Manalo said . “ The Duterte administration is moving in the right direction that will benefit both China and the Philippines.”

Her opinion was if the tension eased, a cooperation agreement between the two countries can be made regarding accidental incidents in the waters of the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

The diplomatic negotiations may take five to 15 years, she said.  But it’s important to keep the two parties “talking rather than fighting” which is the rule of thumb in international diplomacy. MJM

Source: Inquirer

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PH envoy to China: Work with them, but stay firm on claims PH envoy to China: Work with them, but stay firm on claims Reviewed by Kristian S. on 15 August Rating: 5

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