Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said proper handling of the issue would be good for regional peace and stability.
Ahead of Duterte’s China visit, Beijing firm on SCS
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - August 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Beijing’s position of not recognizing the United Nations ruling on South China Sea (SCS) arbitration “has not changed a bit,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry emphasized ahead of President Duterte’s visit to China from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1.

On Friday, Malacañang said Duterte will raise the SCS issue during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said proper handling of the issue would be good for regional peace and stability.

“Facts have proven that if we handle this issue properly, it will be good for regional peace and stability,” Geng said.

But he said China is ready to hold a dialogue with the Philippine government on the passage of Chinese vessels in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“China is ready to conduct dialogue with the Philippines based on international laws to jointly safeguard maritime security and order,” he said.

Geng said bilateral relations between the Philippines and China would be discussed during Duterte’s visit.

The Chinese official said Xi and Duterte would attend the opening ceremony of the 2019 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup.

Premier Li Keqiang will meet with Duterte and Vice President Wang Qishan will accompany the Philippine leader at the FIBA World Cup game in Guangdong.

Geng called the Philippines a friendly neighbor and an important partner of China for the Belt and Road Initiative. 

“Since President Duterte took office, China-Philippines relations have been consolidated and deepened,” Geng said. “We worked to seek synergies between the BRI and the Build Build Build program, reaping fruitful results in practical cooperation.” 

During Xi’s state visit to Manila in November last year, he said the Philippines and China established a comprehensive strategic cooperative relationship.

When Duterte went to China last April for the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the two presidents reached new consensus on bilateral relations.

 “We would like to further strengthen strategic mutual trust and expand cooperation to ensure steady and sustained progress in this relationship,” Geng said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said nothing would dissuade President Duterte from discussing the SCS arbitral ruling when the latter meets with Xi this week.

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