Friday, 17 June 2011 12:41
Malacanang welcomed the recent statement made by the Chinese foreign ministry saying the Chinese government will not resort to the use of force to settle the dispute in the South China Sea.
China on Tuesday vowed not to use force in settling the Spratly issue and called for more dialogue to resolve the long-standing territorial disputes in the area.
“The statement from the Chinese foreign ministry is optimistic. It’s good that we heard them say that they are not going to resort to the use of force. It’s something that we certainly welcome,” Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in the press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.
“So, at least we have in the region an assurance that no use of force will be necessary to resolve the situation,” Lacierda stressed.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China hopes other claimant countries will do more for peace and stability in the region.
Tensions between China and other claimants to the South China Sea escalated last week following a war of words. The Philippines and Vietnam, in particular, have expressed alarm over China’s aggressive actions.
Asked about the plan of US Sen. Jim Webb Jr. to file a bill denouncing China’s behavior in the South China Sea, Lacierda said the Palace will support anything that will lessen the tension and resolve the issue peacefully.
“Anything that will downplay any inflammatory statements is certainly welcome for us. We have always maintained that there should be a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the West Philippines Sea,” he said.
Webb, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asia, urged the US Congress to condemn China’s recent behavior, saying that Washington has to take action on the South China Sea issue.
Aside from China, the Philippines and Vietnam, other claimants to the Spratly Islands are Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia. (PNA)
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