By Pia Lee-Brago and Alexis Romero
MANILA, Philippines - “Non-regional forces” should avoid interfering in activities in the South China Sea, Beijing’s foreign minister warned yesterday as he also called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to help China ward off “outsiders” in the region.
“Outsiders are only out to stir trouble and ASEAN and China should unite to stop this,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a speech at the Shangri-La at the Fort in Taguig.
Wang also signed with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano a memorandum of understanding on strengthening bilateral cooperation.
The two officials said the bilateral consultation mechanism has helped clear the air in the South China Sea issue.
In his speech, Wang said China is eager to be a “good neighbor and good brother” to the Philippines as he cited Beijing’s support for President Duterte’s war on drugs.
Wang cited the delivery of more drug screening and inspection equipment from China. Beijing will also fund the construction of two more drug rehabilitation centers, as well as help in the resettlement and rehabilitation efforts in war-torn Marawi.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, Duterte revealed having agreed to joint exploration with China in disputed waters.
In a press briefing after his SONA, Duterte also said he would not dare insist on the country’s territorial claims and antagonize China because the latter has missiles trained on Manila that could reach its target in minutes.
He said joint exploration is better than waging war with the Asian giant.
But he said the West Philippine Sea issue would be tackled “sooner or later.”
Read the full story at PhilStar
Related Link: China: We must stand together vs South China Sea outsiders