Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ties with China 'bettering' but far from warm - Aquino

President Benigno Aquino III said on Wednesday there has been "a little bettering" in bilateral relations between the Philippines and China but admitted relations between the two countries remained far from warm.

In an open forum with members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Aquino said both countries are "still a long way of really taking it back to where (our relationship) was."

"There is some degree of change in terms of a little bettering of the situation compared to where it was at the height of the tensions," he said. "We are still hoping that we will resolve this amicably; that reasonable voices will prevail; and that both sides are really geared towards arriving at a solution that will satisfy not just the bilateral concerns but more importantly I guess the multilateral concerns affecting this issue."

Aquino said the government is still keeping the option of bringing its territorial disputes with China before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea of the United Nations.

"There are several law firms that we are consulting that are conversant in international law to precisely chart the course of how we will utilize the legal procedures in international law to advance our claims," he said.

Aquino noted that China has already initiated a dialogue with the Philippines.

Aquino was supposed to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Vladivostok last month but this did not push through due to scheduling issues.

Instead, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II met in Nanning last.

Roxas admitted that Manila and Beijing remained at a deadlock over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal issue, where vessels of the two countries engaged in a standoff earlier this year.

"But as I said, talk-talk is better than no talk," Roxas said.-Black Pearl (October 17, 2012 1:30PM)

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