Updated 2:00 PM EDT, Wed, May 20, 2020

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South China Sea News: Philippine Government Works on Building Trust

South China Sea News

(Photo : VCG/VCG via Getty Images) Former President of the Philippines Fidel Valdez Ramos attends the BFA Golf Invitation 2011 as part of the Boao Forum For Asia at golf field of The International Conference Center of the Boao on April 14, 2011 in Boao, Hainan Province of China.

The Philippine government is set to meet with Chinese counterparts to further dialogue relative to the South China Sea dispute.

 This was the result of the informal meeting of former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos and foreign affairs chief of China's top legislature Fu Ying and China's National Institute of South China Seas Studies president Wu Shicun in Hong Kong.

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It can be noted that the friendship between the two countries have been reportedly "jeopardized" following the arbitration case on the South China Sea dispute initiated by the Philippines' immediate past President Benigno S. Aquino III.

As reported by China Daily, the Philippine's special envoy has sat down with his "old friends" somewhere with a "friendly atmosphere.

"The informal discussions focused on the need to engage in further talks to build trust and confidence to reduce tensions to pave the way for overall cooperation for the benefit of both their peoples and the region," a statement released after the talks read.

For his part, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies Li Guoqiang said that "Through the visit of Ramos, the Philippines is expected to hear China's voice and understand Beijing's concerns over South China Sea issues, to improve bilateral ties."

Meanwhile, GMA News reported that former Philippine interior secretary Rafael Alunan, who was with Ramos during the meeting in Hong Kong, shared that both sides agreed about "encouraging track two or think-tank exchanges... where we will be discussing contentious issues."

"That would relieve us [of] the burden of discussing contentious issues because we have another group doing that while we explore ways and means on how to move our relations forward," Alunan added about the most recent South China Sea dispute talks between the two countries.

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