China reiterates settling disputes with Manila via talks

Beijing

China on Monday reiterated the importance of properly settling maritime disputes with the Philippines through consultation.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks in response to a question regarding recent remarks made by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who said China warned there might be confrontation if the Philippines tried to exploit oil in the disputed South China Sea.
China has always been committed to solving disputes regarding the South China Sea through negotiations with directly involved countries, including the Philippines, she said at a regular press briefing.
“We promote putting aside disputes and engaging in joint exploitation, before the final settlement of disputes is achieved, to create conditions for the final settlement,” Hua said.
China and the Philippines convened the first meeting of the bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue last Friday, in Guiyang, capital of southwest China’s Guizhou Province.
“It marked an important step forward in the correct way to solve the South China Sea issue through negotiations,” she said.
The mechanism has offered an important platform for both sides to control difference and carry out cooperation, the spokesperson added.
During President Duterte’s recent China trip, leaders of both countries had an in-depth exchange of views on the future development of ties and other relevant issues, Hua
said.
Both sides agreed to strengthen communication on major issues regarding bilateral ties, guide the development of bilateral ties on a correct path of friendly cooperation between good neighbors, and deepen pragmatic cooperation within the Belt and Road framework to boost common development and prosperity, said the spokesperson.
China hopes to work closely with the Philippines to implement consensus of the two state leaders, properly handle difference through peaceful and friendly negotiations, cement substantial cooperation and boost healthy and stable growth of ties, she said.
“This not only benefits the two countries, but also helps regional peace and stability,” she added.
Meanwhile, China called on Monday for dialogue to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula after North Korea carried out a new missile test.
“The (UN) Security Council has clear stipulations prohibiting DPRK against using ballistic missiles and China opposes this as well,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing, using the initials of North Korea’s official name.
North Korea on Monday declared its medium-range Pukguksong-2 missile ready for deployment after a weekend test, as it seeks to develop an intercontinental rocket capable of striking US targets.
China, Pyongyang’s main diplomatic and economic ally, has come under pressure to use its influence to compel North Korea to rein in its missile and nuclear programmes.
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday in response to the latest ballistic missile test.
The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said last week the United States was working with China on a new sanctions resolut-ion.
Meanwhile, North Korean state airline Air Koryo has abruptly halted its new route between Pyongyang and the Chinese border city of Dandong, local airport and ticketing officials told AFP.
It was not clear when the suspension started or the reason for the decision. North Korea’s state news agency had announced the new service on March
28.
A woman at a local air ticketing company confirmed the suspension, saying that they “informed us to stop selling tickets about one month ago. They didn’t tell us why.”
Air Koryo flights on older routes, between Pyongyang and the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shenyang, were still available online.
No one answered the phone at the airline’s Beijing office.—Xinhua

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