Aquino says PH, China see ‘eye to eye’ on West Philippine Sea dispute

Posted in News | Posted on 16-09-2011

By: Chichi Conde,
September 30, 2011

President Benigno S. Aquino III answers questions directed to him during the dialogue at the ASEAN 100 Leadership Forum in Shangri-La Hotel Thursday night. The ASEAN 100 Leadership Forum is an annual meeting of the most outstanding next wave of leaders from the region who will shape the future of ASEAN. It brings together the brightest men and women from business, government and civil society to engage in dialogue and debate on solutions to foremost challenges and their implications to the future of business and politics. (Photo by Gil Nartea / Malaca�±ang Photo Bureau).

MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III said the Philippines and China see “eye to eye” on the issue of territorial dispute in the South China Sea, which Manila now calls the West Philippine Sea.

Speaking before industry leaders belonging to the 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Thursday evening, Aquino said the dispute is “not the sum total” of the bilateral relations between Manila and Beijing.

“The South China Sea or what we call the West Philippine Sea issue has to be resolved but, at the same time, when I talked to your leaders President Hu Jintao, Premiere Wen Jiabao and others, we did agree that this is not the sum total of our relationships,” Aquino said during the question and answer portion of the Asean 100 Leadership Forum.

The Philippines earlier said it is keeping as an option the filing of a case before the UN International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, if Beijing concurs, to resolve the dispute following Chinese incursions in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) as well as in disputed areas within the West Philippine Sea.

“There are so many areas where there can be mutually supportive and mutually beneficial activities at both ends. Why concentrate on the issues that cause disputes between us and neglect those that can really redound to the improvement of our peoples’ lot?” Aquino said.

“We do see eye to eye and try to minimize any conflicts that we could possibly have,” the President added.

The Kalayaan Island Group (Spratly Islands), which is believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits, are being claimed in whole or in part by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines.


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