19 May 2017

News Story: Philippines sends delegates to Asean-China forum

By Christina Mendez

BEIJING – A high level Philippine delegation is here today for the meeting between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China on the approval of the framework for a Code of Conduct for managing the dispute in the South China Sea.

Ambassador Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana noted that China has shown “flexibility” in dealing with the issue, a major policy shift apparently brought about by President Duterte’s initiative to improve relations with Beijing.

“They have shown flexibility. They’ve actually indicated they are willing, they hope that it can be achieved this year, the framework,” said Sta. Romana, a Beijing-based journalist before his appointment as ambassador.

Aside from the Philippines and China, other countries with conflicting claims in the South China Sea are Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan.

In this year’s ASEAN summit, hosted by the Philippines, leaders of the 10-nation bloc agreed to keep communication lines among claimant countries in the South China Sea open to prevent an escalation of hostilities.

Read the full story at PhilStar