Economy

Philippines' Duterte: China threatened 'war' over sea row

Philippines' Duterte: China threatened 'war' over sea row

China's foreign ministry said the document had been agreed upon, but gave no details of its contents, according to a report by Reuters.

At the time, Philippine President Duterte bluntly stated that complaining about China's maritime activities was pointless because no one could pressure China into halting them - a similar, if less tactful, sentiment to the one expressed by Duterte's foreign secretary at Thursday's meeting.

The talks had been candid and deep and made positive achievements, it added.

Aside from the Philippines, other member states of the ASEAN include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. "There is a community arrangement wherein all of us signed". For their part, the Association nations took a notably softer stance against Chinese development of disputed islands, abandoning complaints about "land reclamation and militarization" at their April 30 summit meeting that were part of the previous year's declarations.

Southeast Asian nations and China should start with a "gentleman's agreement" on the busy South China Sea because no mechanism exists to legally enforce any deal, the Philippine foreign minister said on Friday.

China claims nearly all of the resource-rich South China Sea (SCS), including islands more than 800 miles from the Chinese mainland, despite objections from neighbours such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

The first meeting of the China-Philippines bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea is held in Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, May 19, 2017.

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An worldwide tribunal ruled in July past year that China's claims to most of the sea were without legal basis, in a case filed by the Philippines under Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino.

The two sides upheld an October 2016 joint statement during President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to Beijing, "where both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and stability, freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea..."

China is now expanding defensive forces in the South China Sea, including building air strips on man-made islands, which has raised concerns from Southeast Asian countries and the United States.

Officials agreed to meet anew in Manila later this year.

China and ASEAN committed to drafting the code 15 years ago, and while it should, in theory, tame how they behave in the South China Sea, it remains an open question whether Beijing will be willing to slow construction of artificial islands and pursuit of effective control over disputed territory. According to him, "I told him frankly, we intend to drill oil there, if it's yours, well, that is your view, but my view is, I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth because it is ours".

"China said if we remain friends, it said, 'We will talk about the arbitral ruling. But it is the only method that we can use to maintain security and order in our region", he told reporters after presenting his keynote address at the Toastmasters D87 "Stand Out, Speak Up" Conference here today.

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