China means to resolve differences with PHL, says envoy

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CHINA seeks to resolve differences with the Philippines over maritime claims, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said on Monday, and maintain good overall bilateral relations.   

“We are neighbors that cannot be moved away and have every reason to live together peacefully,” he said during the Chinese Embassy’s celebration of its 73rd National Day via Zoom.

Mr. Huang said it was necessary to properly handle differences to remove interference from China-Philippine relations.

“We should put our differences in a proper place and seek peaceful solutions through friendly consultations, so that our overall relations will not be affected.”

On Friday while on an official trip to the United States, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said China is “claiming territory that belongs to the Philippines,” referring to the West Philippine Sea.

“I think it’s no surprise to anyone that the Philippines has some of these conflicts with the People’s Republic of China, and the position that the Philippines takes is that we have no territorial conflict with China. What we have is China claiming territory that belongs to the Philippines,” he said.

“We have also made it very clear to our friends in Beijing that this is the way we feel about it,” he added.

China has ignored a 2016 United Nations-backed arbitral award that voided its claim to more than 80% of the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by the Philippines.

Both countries should focus on the steady growth of their cooperation, Mr. Huang said, especially in four key areas: agriculture, infrastructure, energy and people-to-people exchanges. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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