By Noel Tarrazona
The Chinese government has called on Southeast Asian countries to prevent non-Asian countries from intervening in the resolution of territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Manila last week to discuss the framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea between and among ASEAN nations. China has claimed ownership of a large part of the South China Sea despite the Hague’s Arbitration Court having denied its sovereign claim.
Wang announced through an Chinese-English interpreter that “external players do not want to see stability in the region. Thus, we need to stand together and say 'no' to them.”
Telling his country that he is not ready for war with China, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week that the Philippines and China will start joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea. Many of his advisers believe this is the best option for easing diplomatic tensions between the two Asian neighbors.
Wang welcomed the development for the joint exploration of the South China Sea and said the partnership will involve much consultation so that “we could come up with a common goal or agreement.”
However, Wang also warned that while China is open to the idea of joint exploration, they are against “unilateral development” conducted by other claimant countries in the South China Sea.
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