Manila will not raise sea row with China at ASEAN meeting

(From AP)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he will not raise long-simmering maritime disputes with China at a meeting of Southeast Asian nations in Laos next month, preferring to talk quietly with Chinese officials.

Still image from United States Navy video purportedly shows Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

“I will only bring the issue when we are together face to face,” he told reporters late Wednesday night. “Because if you quarrel with them now and you claim sovereignty, make noise here and there, they might not just even want to talk.”

In July, a Hague-based arbitration tribunal ruled heavily in the Philippines‘ favor in a case challenging China’s claims and aggressive actions in the South China Sea. China ignored the decision and continued to block Filipino fishermen from a disputed shoal and build new islands.

The arbitration case was filed by Duterte’s predecessor. Duterte has been lukewarm in his support for the action and has said he was adopting “a softer approach” to resolving the disputes. Read More

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