China welcomes Philippine leader's 'ice-breaking trip'

Commentary in state media says visit by Rodrigo Duterte shows ‘bad blood… has finally begun to give place to good faith’

China welcomes Philippine leader's 'ice-breaking trip'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s “ice-breaking trip” to China this week is a sign of the development of “good faith” between the countries, according to China’s state news agency Tuesday.

“After years of estrangement, the bad blood between Beijing and Manila has finally begun to give place to good faith,” said a commentary published by Xinhua.

“A Beijing-Manila detente will be richly rewarding not only on the political and diplomatic fronts,” it underlined, adding that a gradual restoration of mutual trust would be accompanied by enhanced bilateral exchanges and cooperation in business, among other areas.

Since winning the May 9 election, Duterte has expressed willingness to open the Philippines to alliances with China while pursuing an “independent foreign policy” in terms of relations with the country’s long-time ally the United States.

Duterte is set to head for China on Tuesday for the first visit to the country by a Philippine president since 2011.

While he has insisted on using dialogue to address disputes with Beijing over parts of the South China Sea -- which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea -- he told reporters Sunday that he would raise the issue during his visit.

"We will stick to our claim. We do not bargain anything there. We continue to insist that that's ours and that the international tribunal decision will be taken up. But there will be no hard impositions," he had said.

In July, a Hague-based arbitration court ruled in favor of the Philippines in its petition against China's "nine-dash line" claim on a large part of the resource-rich sea.

On Tuesday, the Xinhua commentary described the case as “farcical” and blamed it for relations between the countries having “nosedived to a historical low”.

It commended Duterte for having “reiterated the need of dialogue and negotiation” over the matter, saying such as approach “is largely in line with Beijing's stance”.

The commentary added, however, that “he needs to resist the temptation to thrust the so-called final award in the arbitration case to bilateral talks on the South China Sea issue.”

Beijing claims around 90 percent of the sea despite other Asian counties considering some of its waters, islands and reefs as their territory.

 
Last Mod: 18 Ekim 2016, 09:55
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