MANILA, Oct. 22 (PNA) — The Philippine government is trying to maintain an open line of communication with China despite tensions on the issue of the West Philippine Sea, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Wednesday.
“We are trying to keep the lines of communication open. Even on the ground, the Chinese ambassador and our Secretary of Foreign Affairs, amongst others, keep on dialoguing,” the President said in response to a question on the country’s relationship with China, during the annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines in Marco Polo Ortigas.
In his upcoming attendance to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing next month, the Chief Executive said he is scheduled to meet with other leaders for bilateral talks but there is no scheduled meeting with the Chinese leader.
The President however stressed that the Philippines’ position is that “preserving the status quo doesn’t do anybody any benefit,” and that is why the country has entered into arbitral proceedings and is pushing for the Code of Conduct.
Backing off from these two approaches, he said, would just exacerbate the problems that the country is seeing in the West Philippine Sea.
Asked to comment on reports that there are members of the Chinese government who are just waiting for President Aquino’s administration to end before enhancing China’s relationship with the Philippines, the Chief Executive said he does not believe that his successor would compromise the country’s interest in the West Philippine Sea.
“At the end of the day, it’s still a problem. And, I guess, the focus is to achieve a solution through peaceful means bound by international law to everybody’s benefit,” he said. (PNA)