China insists on settling its disputes with the Philippines through bilateral negotiation

CHINA-FLEET-RUSSIA-NAVAL DRILLSBEIJING, June 9 (People’s Daily, Chen Shangwen) The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday issued a statement on settling disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea through bilateral negotiation.

The latest statement stressed that it is the common agreement and commitment of China and the Philippines to settle their relevant disputes in the South China Sea through negotiation. In this regard, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), as well as a series of bilateral documents was highlighted.

While the statement confirmed that China will adhere to the position of settling disputes with the Philippines in the South China Sea through negotiation, it also made it clear that China views the Philippines’ unilateral initiation of arbitration as against the provisions of UNCLOS.

The statement pointed out that the Philippines deliberately misrepresents certain consultations with China on maritime affairs and cooperation, all of a general nature, as negotiations over the subject-matters of the arbitration, and uses this as an excuse to claim that bilateral negotiations have been exhausted. This is despite the fact that the two States have never engaged in any negotiation on those subject-matters. Such claim made by the Philippines is fundamentally contrary to facts, and must have been made with ulterior motives.

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