Philippines remains open to diplomatic discussions with China: National security advisor

Two Chinese navy vessels had shadowed Philippine and US ships conducting the recently concluded joint patrols, the Philippine military said on Thursday.

The two-day maritime exercises involved four vessels from the Philippine navy and four ships from the US Indo-Pacific fleet, including Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. The patrols ended on Thursday and the US vessels called at the port of Manila on Friday.

The joint patrols were the second held by the Philippines and the US in less than two months in the South China Sea, where tensions over disputed territorial claims are flaring.

“The Philippines remains open to diplomatic discussions with China and reaffirms its commitment to fostering good relations with all nations,” Ano said.

“We believe that through peaceful dialogue and adherence to international law, we can achieve a resolution that serves the best interest of all parties involved in the region,” he said.

China lays claim to almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than US$3 trillion in annual ship commerce. China’s claims of sovereignty overlap territorial waters claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s claims had no legal basis. China has rejected that ruling.

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