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China, Philippines warm up for talks to resolve South China Sea row

China Wednesday warmed up for talks with the Philippines to resolve differences as Beijing welcomed Manila's special envoy to make joint efforts to improve bilateral relations and restore dialogue amid tensions over the South China Sea tribunal verdict.



Beijing: China Wednesday warmed up for talks with the Philippines to resolve differences as Beijing welcomed Manila's special envoy to make joint efforts to improve bilateral relations and restore dialogue amid tensions over the South China Sea tribunal verdict.

"As neighbours of traditional friendship, China and the Philippines should make joint efforts to improve bilateral relations, restore dialogue and cooperation and push for the sound and steady growth of bilateral relations," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement.

Manila's special envoy Fidel Ramos is on a five-day visit to Hong Kong.

"It is learnt that during his stay in Hong Kong, Ramos will meet his Chinese old friends. The Chinese side is open to all forms of contact between the two sides and welcomes a visit to China by Ramos as a special envoy at an early date," she said.

The tribunal appointed by the Permanent Court of Arbitration quashed China's claims over the South Chia Sea and gave a verdict in favour of the Philippines which contested Beijing's claims.

Besides the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have counter claims.

While rejecting the tribunal verdict, China said it is open for bilateral talks with Manila to resolve the dispute.

Designated by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as a special envoy, Ramos arrived in Hong Kong on Monday to start his visit to China after the South China Sea arbitration case has frozen the two countries' ties.

On his arrival in Hong Kong, he said the purpose of his visit to China is not for negotiations but to "rekindle" the Sino-Philippine friendship.

"We are here on a mission of goodwill and are not involved in any negotiations or official transactions," he said.

Ramos said that the people he want to first meet with during his trip is Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, a major think-tank based on China's southern island of Hainan Province.?

"I have always been optimistic and looking for the best results. But of course that also depends on the attitude of the Chinese officials," he said, adding that his Chinese friends include very successful businessmen.

Ramos said he will not discuss the particular issue of the South China Sea arbitration with his Chinese friends but seek to improve economic and tourism cooperation between the two countries.

Ramos, served as the Philippine President from 1992 to 1998.

After his retirement, Ramos became a key figure who proposed the Boao Forum for Asia, an international think tank backed by China which was also based in Hainan.

From Zee News

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