China warns Philippines to resolve South China Sea tensions via dialogue

BEIJING/MANILA (Reuters) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned the Philippines to address through dialogue what China sees as “serious difficulties” in their relations over the South China Sea, where incidents between vessels from the two sides have escalated.

Wang told his Philippine counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, in a phone call on Wednesday that if the Southeast Asian nation misjudges or colludes with “ill-intentioned” external forces in the disputed waters, China would defend its rights and respond resolutely, according to a statement by China’s foreign ministry.

“China-Philippines relations are at a crossroads,” the statement cited Wang as saying. “The top priority is to properly handle and control the current maritime situation.”

Manalo said on Thursday he had a frank and candid exchange with Wang.

“We both noted the importance of dialogue in addressing these issues,” Manalo said, according to a foreign ministry statement. It was not immediately clear who initiated the phone call.

China lays claim to most of the waters within a so-called Nine Dash Line, which is also contested by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

An international tribunal invalidated China’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea in 2016 but Beijing does not recognise the ruling. China has built man-made islands in the disputed area in recent years and put air strips on several of them.

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

BEIJING/MANILA (Reuters) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned the Philippines to address through dialogue what China sees as “serious difficulties” in their relations over the South China Sea, where incidents between vessels from the two sides have escalated.

Wang told his Philippine counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, in a phone call on Wednesday that if the Southeast Asian nation misjudges or colludes with “ill-intentioned” external forces in the disputed waters, China would defend its rights and respond resolutely, according to a statement by China’s foreign ministry.

“China-Philippines relations are at a crossroads,” the statement cited Wang as saying. “The top priority is to properly handle and control the current maritime situation.”

Manalo said on Thursday he had a frank and candid exchange with Wang.

“We both noted the importance of dialogue in addressing these issues,” Manalo said, according to a foreign ministry statement. It was not immediately clear who initiated the phone call.

China lays claim to most of the waters within a so-called Nine Dash Line, which is also contested by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

An international tribunal invalidated China’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea in 2016 but Beijing does not recognise the ruling. China has built man-made islands in the disputed area in recent years and put air strips on several of them.

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has warned the Philippines to address their “serious difficulties” in their relations over the South China Sea through dialogue. Incidents between vessels from the two sides have escalated in the disputed waters. Wang stated that if the Philippines misjudges or colludes with external forces in the area, China will defend its rights and respond resolutely. He emphasized that China-Philippines relations are at a crossroads and that controlling the current maritime situation is the top priority. The Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary, Enrique Manalo, acknowledged the importance of dialogue in addressing the issues. China claims most of the South China Sea, which is also contested by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. An international tribunal invalidated China’s claim in 2016, but China does not recognize the ruling. China has built man-made islands in the disputed area and constructed air strips on some of them.

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