Philippines urged to decide rationally, work with China to manage situation at sea-Xinhua

BEIJING, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) — China hopes that the Philippines will decide rationally, follow the effective way for neighbors to get along with each other and work with China to properly handle and manage the situation at sea, foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Thursday.

He made the remarks at a daily press briefing in response to foreign media questioning China’s position on maritime disputes with the Philippines.

The spokesperson stressed that when it comes to maritime disputes with neighbors, “China’s position is consistent and clear without any change.”

“Our commitment to properly managing disputes through dialogue and consultation has not changed. Our willingness to work with the Philippines to implement the previously reached common understandings and agreements has not changed. Our policy of working with the Philippines and other ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea has not changed,” Wang said.

“Last but not least, our resolve to safeguard our sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests has not changed and will not change,” he said.

He quoted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s recent phone conversation with Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo as saying that China-Philippines relations face serious difficulty and the root cause lies in the Philippines’ change of policy and position, refusing to honor its commitment and repeated provocations that undermine China’s legitimate and lawful rights and interests.

“The bilateral relationship is now at a crossroads. Where it will go depends on what choice will be made. The Philippines must be very prudent about it,” Wang said.

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