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Chinese FM to visit to Philippines amid South China Sea row

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Wang YiWang Yi

Beijing: Amid deepening row over the South China Sea, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will make a rare visit to the Philippines, days after Manila’s petition over its maritime dispute with China was admitted by a UN maritime tribunal overruling Beijing’s objections. Wang will meet Philippines Foreign Secretary, Albert Del Rosario and other leaders on President Xi Jinping’s planned presence at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Manila, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hong Lei told a news briefing here today.

The visit from Wang is the first after several years, Hong said. As the rotating chair of APEC, the Philippines will host
the APEC summit from November 17 to 19. President Xi’s attendance at the summit is drawing wide attention, amid
severe difficulties in the bilateral relationship caused by disputes in the South China Sea over recent years. “Both sides will exchange views on improving bilateral relations,” Hong said, adding that China is reluctant to see the difficulties in China-Philippines relationship. China is committed to resolving relevant issues with the Philippines through consultation and negotiation, Hong said.

He called on the Philippines to work with China and constructively deal with relevant issues to restore bilateral
ties at an early date. China has insisted on resolving the disputes through bilateral talks but the Philippines brought its arbitration case to the Hague-based international tribunal UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which now began hearing the Manila’s case against Beijing on the South China Sea dispute. China has already dismissed the tribunal’s decision null and void. Beijing’s claim of all most all of the South China Sea is contested by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam which have over lapping claims.