Marcos: PH refusal of China’s offer for talks a bad move | Global News
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Marcos: PH refusal of China’s offer for talks a bad move

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 06:53 PM July 08, 2015

THE Philippines government’s continued refusal to hold bilateral talks with China  “will force the superpower to take a more hardline position in the West Philippine Sea dispute,” Senator  Ferdinand “Bongbong”  Marcos Jr. said on  Wednesday.

“China opened the door and we shut it. The Chinese said let’s talk and we snubbed them. It’s like the Philippine government itself is encouraging China to take and maintain an unbending stance on the issue,” Marcos said, reacting to China’s reported offer to  hold a dialogue  on the West Philippine Sea dispute.

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He said the Philippines will  not lose anything by accepting the Chinese invitation.

“So talk, and tell them: we are not happy with what you are doing and we do not agree with what you are doing. But the next thing you say is: how do we fix this?” said Marcos, vice chairman of the Senate committee on foreign relations.

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He  said rejecting China’s offer would limit the government’s strategic options to stop China from antagonizing not only the Philippines, but all the other claimant-countries in the West Philippine Sea.

“We should not be snobbish. I can’t see any reason at all why we are not talking to China. On the contrary, there are more than enough obvious reasons why we should talk to superpower China,”  the senator said.

Marcos acknowledged that with China’s own geo-political interests and its concern over the presence of the Americans in the area,  holding bilateral talks between Manila and Beijing “is not going to be easy.”

“We’re strategically important to any great power in Asia-Pacific, but we have to play that role even-handedly. We have to stop thinking in terms of kakampi ko ang Chinese, kakampi ko ang Kano. Ang kakampi mo lang Pilipino,” he said.

“What is the national interest, what is good for the Philippines, that’s all that we have to be thinking about,” he  further said.

Marcos said  there are three ways to resolve the dispute: by war, adjudication, or multilateral/bilateral agreements.

“We do not want war. Arbitration is not one that is going to be recognized by the Chinese. So it has to be negotiations,”   he said.

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In pushing for negotiations, Marcos cited the so-called “Cod Wars” or the dispute over rich fishing grounds between the United Kingdom and Spain in the early 80s.  He  pointed out that at the height of the tensions,  war ships even rammed fishing boats.

“In the end, what did they do? They came to a bilateral agreement to share and now they are working on that basis,”  he said.

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