Duterte and Xi may tackle South China Sea issues at China meeting – Teehankee
President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping may again discuss maritime issues on the South China Sea during their bilateral meeting in China this April, a foreign affairs official said.
Duterte is set to visit China for the third time to attend the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan province on April 9 to 10.
Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Affairs Manuel Antonio Teehankee said Duterte and Xi Jinping would hold a bilateral meeting on April 10 “to discuss ways to further enhance the bilateral relationship between the Philippines and China.”
Asked whether the issue on the heavily disputed South China Sea would be raised, Teehankee said the issue may be discussed during the bilateral meeting.
“At the bilateral meeting, this may come up as well,” he said.
The foreign affairs official said Duterte maintains the government’s position to seek dialogue with China rather than to press Beijing over the United Nations ruling invalidating China’s expansive claims in the disputed waterway.
“On this, I think the President has been very clear that he maintains the Philippine position and the meetings are based on mutual respect and quality among nations,” he said.
After his Hainan visit, the President will proceed to Hong Kong to meet the Filipino community there, Teehankee said.
The President will be in Hong Kong on April 11 and 12, Teehankee said.
“The President will be traveling to Hong Kong to meet with members of the Filipino community with OFW welfare being one of the initiatives closest to the heart of the President,” Teehankee said. “He is eager to see and hear firsthand the concerns and the situation of our kababayans in Hong Kong.” /muf
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