Avoid confrontation in China talks, Ramos urged
No specific instructions have been given to former President Fidel Ramos as the country’s envoy to China but he has been asked to avoid “confrontation” in the wake of the ruling on the West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said on Friday.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Ramos was given “principles of wisdom” on how to proceed with the talks during the National Security Council meeting on Wednesday.
“They’re not necessarily instructions but these are, I suppose, principles of wisdom about how to go about the conversation, that you know, they can start with things that you can agree on and not necessarily begin from an adversarial or insistent position. So basically, it’s a very diplomatic rule instead of confrontation,” Abella told reporters in a press briefing.
Asked if the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration would be discussed, Abella said, “If circumstances allow, they will talk about what they can talk about.”
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said bilateral talks with China would be within the bounds of the arbitral ruling after the Philippines won the case against China.
Abella said there was no specific date yet as to when Ramos would fly to China to start the talks.
“They are taking the time to put together the package. In a sense, we are not really rushing into this,” he said.
The Palace official said former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan was still on standby should Ramos be “not ready or available for the role.”
On July 12, the arbitral tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands, granted the Philippines sovereign rights over the disputed waters and debunked Beijing’s “nine-dash line” claim to almost the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.
China has repeatedly rejected the tribunal’s ruling but said they are open to resolve the dispute with the Philippines through bilateral talks./rga
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