On Sunday, days after the Minister ordered Chinese vessels out of the disputed waterway to be removed from the disputed waterways in an explosive tweet, the Philippines and China held “friendly, candid” talks on the South China Sea.
Hundreds of Chinese shipping companies have been present within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Philippines for 200 miles as the latest source of tension between the South China Sea countries, where goods worth $3 trillion go every year.
The Philippines said the encroaching vessels were manned by militia, while Beijing said they were fishing boats sheltering from bad weather.
“The two sides had friendly and candid exchanges on the general situation and specific issues of concern in the South China Sea,” under a bilateral consultation mechanism convened in 2016 to ease tensions in the strategic waterway, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.
“There was mutual recognition of the importance of dialogue in easing tensions and understanding each country’s position and intentions in the area,” the DFA said.
Earlier this month, Philippines Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin likened China to “an ugly oaf” for its behavior in the waterway.
“China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE FUCK OUT,” Locsin tweeted on his personal account.
Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, who preferred to not provoke Beijing and would like to use it to borrow and invest, prevented his ministers from speaking publicly of South China following the outbreak.
The row that sank a Filipino fishing vessel in the South China Sea from a Fishermen’s Chinese fisherman in June 2019 also discussed during Friday’s dialog. The row was also discussed. The Philippine Ministry of Justice will look for the victims’ compensation, the DFA said.
Given the recent strained relations, the Philippines and China have improved under Duterte, who described South China’s 2016 arbitration decision as just a “piece of paper” he could cast into the trash.
The Philippines, however, reiterated its call for Peking to respect international law during the negotiations, including an arbitral ruling, said the DFA.