China hoping for 'well-thought policies' from new Philippine president

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — China on Thursday expressed its hope that the next Philippine president would adopt policies leaning towards them and improve bilateral relations.

"We attach importance to developing relations with the Philippines, and hope that its new government can adopt positive and well-thought policies towards China, properly deal with relevant disputes, and improve bilateral relations with concrete actions," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press briefing.

Hua added that it is natural for the Philippines and China to develop amicable and cooperative relations as they are close neighbors but admitted that bilateral relations have met major setbacks due to disputes in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

"We have noted that some people from the Philippine side are also reflecting upon the matter whether relevant policies adopted by the Philippines truly meet the interests of their people," Hua said.

Presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that he is willing to hold bilateral talks with China to resolve the sea dispute.

Duterte said that he is also open to enter a joint exploration agreement with China if ever he wins the presidential race in the upcoming elections.

“Ano kaya kung joint venture na lang? Nobody claims it?” Duterte said.

READ: Duterte open to bilateral talks, joint exploration in resolving sea dispute

The Davao City mayor also said that he supports the arbitration case that the Philippines filed against China in question of its nine-dash line claim over the disputed waters.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, former Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II and Sen. Grace Poe are all in favor of the government's move to file an arbitration case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations.

On the other hand, Vice President Jejomar Binay questioned the country's arbitration case against Beijing and said that he prefers "warm" bilateral relations with China.

The international tribunal is expected to issue its ruling on Manila's case against Beijing by May.

RELATED: Where do our candidates stand on China and the West Philippine Sea?

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