Wed, Jul 27, 2016 - Page 6 News List

China urges US to support more talks with Philippines

Reuters, BEIJING and VIENTIANE

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) asked US Secretary of State John Kerry to support the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea, following a ruling against Beijing over the dispute earlier this month.

China did not participate in and has refused to accept the July 12 ruling by the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration, in which US ally Manila won an emphatic legal victory.

Meeting in Vientiane on Monday at an ASEAN summit, Wang told Kerry that China and ASEAN had agreed that the dispute should get back onto the “correct” track of being resolved by direct talks with the parties concerned.

China “hopes the United States side takes actual steps to support the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines, and support the efforts of China and ASEAN to maintain regional peace and stability,” Wang said, according to a ministry statement released yesterday.

China has repeatedly accused the US of stoking tensions in the South China Sea and of taking sides in the dispute, accusations Washington denies.

Competing claims with China in the vital shipping lane and resource-rich sea are among the most contentious issues for the 10 members of ASEAN.

Taiwan also has claims in the area.

Speaking to reporters in Vientiane, Philippine Minister of Foreign Affairs Perfecto Yasay said the dispute was not a fight between China and the US, but between China and the Philippines.

“We would like to pursue bilateral relationships insofar as the peaceful resolution of the dispute is concerned that is between the China and the Philippines. The others are not concerned with that dispute,” Yasay told reporters.

China has also accused Japan of interfering in the dispute.

The Chinese ministry said that Wang again urged Tokyo not to intervene in the South China Sea, saying Tokyo was not a claimant in the disputes and should avoid interfering in maritime spats.

“The China-Japan relations are still vulnerable and unsatisfactory,” Wang told Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida.

Japan and allies Australia and the US issued a joint statement voicing their “strong opposition to any coercive unilateral actions” in the South China Sea and calling on both the Philippines and China to abide by the legally binding ruling.

China scored a diplomatic victory on Monday as Southeast Asian nations dropped any reference to the court ruling in a joint statement in the face of resolute objections from Cambodia, China’s closest ASEAN ally.

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