China Warns Philippine President Duterte not to Raise July 12 Ruling During Joint Talks
As Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte begins his four-day visit to China starting on Tuesday, Beijing is watching the Philippine leader's actions which could serve as a test of his sincerity to repair Manila's ties with the world's second largest economy.
China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, said the icy relations between Manila and Beijing is being replaced with good faith as Duterte makes his first official state visit to China.
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Xinhua reported that the visit surprised the international community as it comes on the heels of years of estrangement between the two countries caused by a case filed by the Philippines against China over disputed territories in the South China Sea.
"In a reflection of his keenness to repair the seriously damaged relations, the new Philippine president chose China to be the first country he visits outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations since taking office in June," Xinhua noted.
Xinhua said Duterte's simultaneous shift to China and his spurning of the United States are clear signs of a growing rapprochement between the two countries after being locked in a bitter dispute for years.
China praised Duterte for his diplomatic tack in trying to peacefully resolve the South China Sea dispute through dialogue, saying he has not given in to opinions of "outside meddlers" and "war mongers."
"On the South China Sea issue, he has avoided his predecessor's idiosyncrasies of colluding with outside meddlers and making unnecessary provocations, and instead reiterated the need for dialogue and negotiation, an approach that is largely in line with Beijing's stance," Xinhua said,
Xinhua warned the Philippine leader to resist the "temptation" to insist on the July 12 ruling of an international arbitration court favoring the Philippines in the South China Sea dispute as Beijing will not accept it.
Wounds of the past
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), on July 12, handed down a ruling that rejected China's massive claims to the South China Sea, adding that Beijing violated international law and the Philippines' rights to explore resources within its exclusive economic zone.
China has dismissed the ruling as "illegal" and "null and void." Chinese President Xi Jinping has reiterated that Beijing will not accept any talks and propositions by any state based on the ruling.
"The verdict issued by a law-abusing tribunal has no place in the negotiations at all," Xinhua said.
Xinhua said China is looking forward to Duterte's visit saying Beijing's doors are always open for his administration.
"Should President Duterte demonstrate his good faith, the trip will present a long overdue opportunity for the two nations, which enjoy longstanding friendship, to heal the wounds of the past few years and steer their relationship back to the right course." the commentary emphasized.