Some countries should “discard their unrealistic stance” over the South China Sea issue, as China and the Philippines are making joint efforts to promote the positive development of the situation, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
Spokesman Lu Kang made the remarks at a regular news conference, while commenting on a report from Japanese media that quoted a Japanese government official as saying that during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit, Tokyo and Manila have reached consensus on Wednesday over “respecting the arbitral ruling” of the South China Sea.
The arbitration case, unilaterally launched by former Philippine president Benigno Aquino III in 2013, had deteriorated the China-Philippine relationship until last week when Duterte began a state visit to China to restore bilateral ties and enhance cooperation.
Lu said that during Duterte’s visit, China and the Philippines agreed to set aside disputes and enhance bilateral negotiations over the South China Sea.
“We have noticed that President Duterte’s recent remarks are in accordance with the spirit of the consensuses (made during Duterte’s visit to Beijing),” he said.
“If you want to understand the stance of the Philippine government, it would be worth listening to what the Philippine leader said,” Lu added.
On Thursday, the final day of his three-day visit to Japan, Duterte said his country could conduct joint naval exercises with Japan, but repeated there would be no more war games with longtime ally the United States, and again vented his anger toward Washington.
Duterte said on Wednesday that disputes over the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully.
Chen Qinghong, a researcher of Southeast Asian and Philippine studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said Japan, a country which does not have territorial clams in the South China Sea, has been trying to stir up trouble in the region, at a time when parties involved in the issue have been working to maintain regional stability.
“Through intensifying disputes in the region, Japan is attempting to sow discord between China and Southeast Asian countries, in an attempt to expand its influence in Southeast Asia and try to contain China,” Chen said.