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China envoy: Sea dispute temporary

MANILA, Philippines–Amid his country’s assertive behavior in the South China Sea, China’s ambassador to the Philippines on Tuesday assured Filipinos that the territorial dispute would be “temporary” and was optimistic that it would eventually be resolved peacefully.

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Speaking during the 13th Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day celebration in Manila, Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said his country and its Asian neighbors share a “common aspiration to maintain regional peace and stability.”

“Compared with our thousand-year-old friendship and extensive cooperation, the difficulties we are facing on [the] South China Sea issue are temporary,” he said in the presence of President Aquino and other top government officials.

“It is our common responsibility to handle the South China Sea issue in a proper and peaceful manner.”

In his speech, the President reiterated his government’s position that the dispute with China was not the “sum total” of its relationship with the Philippines.

Using its nine-dash line doctrine, Beijing is claiming practically the entire South China Sea, including areas located well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Still, Zhao said his government “has always attached great importance to its relations with the Philippines, and I believe that we have the wisdom, patience and courage to settle the disputes through negotiations and consultations.”

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TAGS: China, Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day, Philippines, sea dispute, territorial dispute
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