China and Philippines meet on South China Sea disputes

World Today

Rodrigo Duterte,Xi Jinping Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for photographers prior to their bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, May 15, 2017. (Etienne Oliveau/Pool Photo via AP)

China and the Philippines are trying out a new system to help them solve territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The move comes as the Philippines’ new president, Rodrigo Duterte, pivots away from the United States and toward China.

CGTN’s Barnaby Lo reports from Manila.
Follow Barnaby Lo ‏on Twitter @barnabychuck

China and Philippines meet on South China Sea disputes

China and Philippines meet on South China Sea disputes

China and the Philippines are trying out a new system to help them solve territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The move comes as the Philippines’ new president, Rodrigo Duterte, pivots away from the United States and toward China.


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has visited Beijing twice in less than a year and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

On both occasions, Duterte welcomed billions of dollars in aid and investment pledges from China to help the Philippines build much-needed infrastructure such as dams, bridges and railways.

“There’s definitely an economic pivot toward China,” said Richard Heydarian, a foreign policy analyst. “I think Duterte sees China as an indispensable partner for national development. At the same time, U.S. reliability is also very questionable, even more so with the Trump Administration.”

Duterte’s approach differs from that of his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, who looked to the U.S. for support, including in Manila’s bid to take China to court over South China Sea territorial disputes.

Duterte has so far refused to raise the issue of the court’s decision, which was seen as favoring the Philippine position.

Representatives of the Philippines and China met Friday in Guiyang, China, for the first session of their joint consultation mechanism for resolving South China Sea disputes.

Beijing said they exchanged views on handling incidents and disputes. Manila says they were able to address contentious issues in a friendly tone.