China’s Call for Dialogue on Sea Dispute with the Philippines

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesman Wang Wenbin. AFP Photo
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In a recent press briefing, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) spokesman Wang Wenbin expressed hope that the Philippines would collaborate with China to protect peace and stability in the region. This statement came in response to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s remark that Philippine diplomatic efforts with China are heading in a negative direction. Wang emphasized China’s willingness to engage in dialogues to resolve the ongoing maritime dispute between the two countries.

Addressing the recent events in the South China Sea, Wang stated that the tensions were a result of the Philippines’ deliberate infringement on China’s sovereignty and provocative actions. The Chinese Embassy in Manila shared the transcript of Wang’s briefing, highlighting China’s stance on the matter.

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea reported that on December 9, Chinese ships fired water cannons at two Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ships attempting to deliver supplies to Filipino fishermen in the Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal. Furthermore, on December 10, a China Coast Guard vessel collided with a civilian Philippine vessel engaged in a resupply mission to Filipino troops stationed in Ayungin Shoal.

Wang firmly stated that the responsibility for these incidents lies with the Philippines. He emphasized China’s determination to protect its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. However, he also emphasized that maritime disputes should not overshadow the entirety of China-Philippines relations.

China remains committed to resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation with the Philippines. Wang emphasized that China is open to further talks and contact with the Philippines, and hopes that the Philippines will make the right choice by honoring its commitment to resolving disputes through peaceful means.

In response to China’s appeal for the Philippines to maintain peace and stability in the region, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has yet to issue a formal response. DFA spokesman Ma. Teresita Daza mentioned that the last dialogue with China occurred when the Philippines lodged a diplomatic protest through its Embassy in Beijing following the incidents at Bajo de Masinloc and Ayungin Shoal.

It is crucial for both China and the Philippines to find common ground and work towards a peaceful resolution of the maritime dispute. The stability and security of the region depend on the ability of both countries to engage in constructive dialogues and find mutually acceptable solutions.

As international observers, it is important to understand the complexities of the situation and the historical context that underlies the dispute. The South China Sea issue involves multiple claimants and has implications for global trade and security. It is therefore essential for all parties involved to exercise restraint, respect international law, and seek diplomatic solutions to prevent further escalation.

In conclusion, China’s call for the Philippines to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region reflects the importance of maintaining constructive dialogue and finding peaceful resolutions to the maritime dispute. Both countries must prioritize diplomatic efforts and work towards a mutually beneficial outcome that respects the rights and interests of all parties involved.

Source: The Manila Times

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