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Aquino underscores importance of dialogue in addressing disputes

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President Benigno S. Aquino III underscored the importance of diplomacy and dialogue in addressing disputes with neighboring countries, saying that just by talking, world leaders can thresh out any differences and discover that they have the same focus and advocacy in terms of governing their respective peoples.

In his reply during the Q&A portion at the ASEAN 100 Leaders Forum held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel recently, the President said that he and Chinese President Hu Jintao have discussed the issue of the West Philippine Sea and that they both saw “eye-to-eye” on the topic.

“The South China Sea or what we call the West Philippine Sea issue, has to be resolved but at the same time, when I talked to your leaders: President Hu Jintao, Premier Weng Jiabao and others, we did agree that this is not the sum total of our relationships,” the President said.

He said that as neighbors, "other issues such as global warming and piracy affect the two countries but we have chosen to focus on that which is mutually supportive and beneficial to us."

“So in this particular case, we are neighbors. The problems that affect the Philippines also affect China. Global climate change will not be kept by our borders. Piracy is not solely our issue. Trying to uplift the lot of all of our countrymen is also a common concern and in that aspect, there are so many areas where there can be mutually supportive, mutually beneficial activities at both ends and I think your country’s leadership is really focused as we are. Why concentrate on the issues that cause disputes between us and neglect those that can really redound to the improvement of our peoples’ lot?” the President said.

“So we are concentrating actually on areas where we can cooperate and we do see eye to eye and try to minimize any conflicts that we could possibly have,” he added.

The President also pointed out the Luneta hostage crisis last August 2010 as an "exemplar" of what good dialogue "can do to ease tensions between our countries."

"The hostage crisis I think is exemplar. We talked with the leadership of China, the (Chinese) embassy here, various leaders in Hong Kong in what could have been transformed into a situation that could have been made worse, but reasonable and good dialogues happened between our respective officials and we have addressed that and minimized the potential tensions between our peoples," the President said. (PNA)




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