Duterte’s China visit not right time to discuss sea row—Yasay | Global News

Duterte’s China visit not right time to discuss sea row—Yasay

/ 06:13 PM October 17, 2016

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Foreign  Secretary Perfecto Yasay on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s upcoming state visit to China was not the right time to discuss the South China Sea dispute.

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In a press briefing of Philippine officials in Brunei Darussalam, Yasay said Duterte’s trip to Beijing will focus on building trust and increasing confidence between the two nations, following tensions that arose from the maritime dispute.

The Philippines won its historic case against China before the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s claims to almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea.

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“They might pass upon or talk about general principles and framework… They might be able to talk generally about it, but I think the President has made it clear that maybe this is not the time to talk about resolving the dispute. The trip is for trust building first,” Yasay said.

“Right now, it is not the time to discuss substantively resolving these issues. We still have to build the trust that was weakened or eroded in the past administration,” he added.

Noting that the sea dispute was “not the sum total of our relationship,” Yasay said the state visit would pave the way for other substantive issues and opportunities to be discussed and explored.

“We should not miss out on opportunities for trade and investments,” Yasay added.

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Before leaving for Brunei on Sunday, Duterte said his state visit to China would be a “key turning point in our histories,” as he was looking forward to exchanging ideas on how to improve bilateral ties and explore areas of partnership.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Monday said about 500 businessmen will join Duterte in his visit to China. The President will proceed to Beijing after his visit to Brunei on Tuesday. JE/rga

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TAGS: Brunei, China, Duterte, Foreign affairs, maritime dispute, South China Sea, Yasay
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