Aquino tells China of ‘wish’ for regional solution to Spratlys dispute
BEIJING—President Aquino told Chinese President Hu Jintao of his wish that the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea be settled with a “regional” solution, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters after the bilateral meeting between the two leaders on Wednesday.
“President Aquino initiated (the discussion on the West Philippine Sea) and he mentioned that we have differences but these differences should not deter us from moving forward. The President also mentioned the position of the Philippine government or the Philippine side, because this is a regional problem, it requires a regional solution,” Lacierda said in a quick briefing outside the Great Hall.
“On the side of the Chinese, they also mentioned that they continue to hold their consistent position that it should be resolved peacefully and they would encourage that the region be developed or the South China Sea be developed as a sea of friendship, peace and cooperation. So both sides were very positive in addressing the issue in the South China Sea,” Lacierda added.
Asked what President Aquino meant about a regional solution, Lacierda cited “the various claimants in the dispute.”
Lacierda said the issue of the Northrail project was also discussed and said the Chinese officials agreed with the proposition that it be “reconfigured.”
“Northrail was also raised. The President mentioned that there were certain issues and the Northrail project needed to be reconfigured. And the Chinese agreed and so in their words, they attach a high importance to the project. And so both sides directed their officials concerned with the project to resolve the Northrail issue,” Lacierda said.
Still, Lacierda said the discussions delved mainly on trade and cooperation.
“What dominated the discussions primarily was the promotion of trade and investments and cultural ties that bind the two countries,” Lacierda said.
“Generally the discussion was an expression of warmth on both sides. They welcomed each other. President Hu Jintao welcomed the Philippine President and President Aquino thanked the Chinese for their hospitality and grace in welcoming them,” he added.
Lacierda said President Aquino asked Hu to declare 2012-2013 as the year of Philippine-China friendship and “President Hu gladly agreed.”
Lacierda said President Aquino encouraged more investments from the Chinese.
“Basically we talked about issues, the ideas of investments, promoting more investments in the country. The President mentioned and encouraged the Chinese side to invest more and the Chinese side also said they are willing to invest more in the Philippines and hopefully they can push with the $60-billion investment by 2016,” Lacierda said.
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