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China: Philippines came back to right track a year after Hague ruling

"China's stance on this arbitration has been consistent and clear-cut," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said. FMPRC

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and China and the Philippines have come back to the "right track" of resolving the South China Sea dispute a year after the arbitration award, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

The United Nations-backed international tribunal earlier issued a landmark ruling invalidating China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

The Duterte administration, however, opted to hold direct negotiations with Beijing without imposing the arbitration award.

"Since last year, with the concerted efforts of the two sides, China and the Philippines have come back to the right track of peacefully solving disputes through dialogue and negotiation, and the China-Philippines relations have taken an upturn comprehensively," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

Geng added that both parties have committed to advancing "friendly and pragmatic cooperation in various fields."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed that its stance on the arbitration remains consistent and clear-cut.

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Beijing had refused to acknowledge the ruling of the international arbitration tribunal and insisted indisputable sovereignty over the region.

"While firmly upholding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, China has also been committed to peacefully resolving the relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation with countries directly concerned and working with the ASEAN countries to jointly uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea," Geng said.

Last May, the Philippines and China conducted the initial meeting of its bilateral consultation mechanism for the South China Sea dispute. The two parties are expected to meet again during the second half of the year.

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