China, Philippines: Money talks

2016-10-20 18:56
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte  at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Wu Hong, Pool Photo via AP)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Wu Hong, Pool Photo via AP)

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Beijing - China scored a major diplomatic victory on Thursday, wielding its economic might and political clout to coax the Philippines into resuming a bilateral dialogue on their South China Sea territorial dispute following months of acrimony.

The move could widen a political rift between the Philippines' treaty ally the United States and the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has made no secret of his antipathy for America and ordered an end to joint manoeuvrers between their militaries.

Following talks in Beijing between Duterte and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, a senior Chinese diplomat announced the sides had agreed to restore the full range of contacts, although he said the leaders touched only briefly on the South China Sea.

"Both sides agreed that the South China Sea issue is not the sum total of the bilateral relationship," Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters.

The two sides agreed to return to the approach used five years ago of seeking a settlement through bilateral dialogue, Liu said.

That was followed with an announcement by Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez at a bilateral economic forum that his country and China will sign $13.5bn of deals this week. He did not elaborate.

Duterte hailed a warming of relations with China.


Read more on:    philippines  |  china

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