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China commits in drafting South China Sea Code of Conduct – FM Wang

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2019

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows the Pagasa (Hope) Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines July 20, 2011. REUTERS/ROLEX DELA PENA/POOL

BEIJING, China – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin has met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday (March 20) where the two officials discussed matters pertaining to issues that concern both countries.

Wang assured the Philippines that China will cooperate with all member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in crafting the long-stalled Code of Conduct in the South China Sea in the next three years.

China also raised the possibility of discussing its flagship Belt and Road program.

“China will work together with the Philippines and other ASEAN countries, to remain determined, exclude interference, and strive to finish negotiations on the COC by the end of 2021, and make it a real stabilizer for the South China Sea situation,” Wang said.

In April, the Philippines and China will meet to discuss the China-Philippine Bilateral Consultation Mechanism.

Locsin confirmed, meanwhile, that President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the second Belt and Road Forum in China scheduled next month.

The official added that the Philippine government is working on strengthening its political trust with China to further boost the two countries’ bilateral cooperation which include programs on maritime cooperation and peace and navigational stability.

“Between the Philippines and China, which have always been friends and never enemies, resisting attempts by the great powers of the previous century to use our proximity against each other rather than for each other’s benefit,” Locsin said.

“Early on, I am proud to say that I was part of an effort to bring our countries close together,” the Foreign Affairs Secretary concluded. —  Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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PH to explore new cooperation, partnership with China

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping

President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday (April 25) that the Philippines will seek “new areas of cooperation and partnership” to further strengthen its diplomatic ties with China.

Duterte said this during his bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the sidelines of the second Belt and Road Forum being held in Beijing from April 25 to 27.

“The Philippines [and] China must continue to work together to explore new areas of cooperation and partnership. We look forward to a productive discussion on matters of mutual interest and concern,” Duterte said in his opening statement for the bilateral talks.

“The decision to elevate bilateral ties to a comprehensive, strategic cooperation affirms the Philippines and China’s strong desire to further deepen and broaden this engagement,” he added.

Duterte is one of the 35 leaders and heads of international organizations who are currently in Beijing to participate in the second Road and Belt Forum.

This is the fourth time that Duterte visited China since winning the presidential election in 2016.

Duterte also said the Philippines remains keen on executing the projects that were agreed during Xi’s visit to Manila in November 2018, in line with the vision to implement high-quality and good impact projects.

“The sooner they are completed, the sooner people on the ground will feel the benefits of Philippine-China relations,” he said.

For his part, Xi said he is happy to see better relations between the two countries and that the Philippines is an important part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

After his bilateral talks with Xi, Duterte will meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Duterte arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for the four-day visit. He was accompanied by several of his cabinet members, his partner Honeylet Avanceña and daughter Veronica. — Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Taiwan not intimidated by Chinese military drills -Tsai

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (Photo: Taiwan Presidential Office)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – President Tsai Ing-Wen said her government is not intimidated by China’s military drills which a senior U.S. official described as “coercion” and a threat to stability in the region.

On Monday (April 15), China’s People’s Liberation Army said its warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft had conducted “necessary drills” around Taiwan, saying the movement was part of a routine.

“As president, I want to tell you that Taiwan is not intimidated. These actions only serve to strengthen our resolve. Our military forces have the capacity, determination and commitment to defend Taiwan and not allow coercion to dictate our own future,” Tsai said in her speech during a forum co-hosted by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to mark the 40th anniversary of Taiwan-U.S. ties under the Taiwan Relations Act.

Tsai revealed that the Trump administration had notified Taipei of its third arms sale to Taiwan and the training of pilots at the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona which she said are measures so important to Taiwan’s national defense.

“I will reiterate here as well, that we will not give up even one inch of our sovereign territory, we will always insist on our democratic freedom,” she said.

The event was attended by a delegation led by Paul Ryan, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who criticized China for not renouncing use of force to achieve its goal of unification.

“These kinds of things should stop, they are irresponsible and they undermine the framework that has enabled peace and stability and development for decades. It’s counterproductive,” Ryan said.

The visit by U.S. officials comes just weeks after Tsai said the United States was responding positively to Taipei’s requests for new arms sales to bolster its defenses in the face of growing pressure from China.

The United States has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help provide the island with the means to defend itself and it is the self-ruled nation’s main source of arms. (REUTERS)

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One of four most endangered turtles died in China

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

Photo: Reuters

The last-known female Yangtze giant softshell, one of the most endangered turtles in the world, has died in Suzhou zoo on Saturday (April 13).

The female turtle was about 90 years old when she died after a round of artificial insemination. It was her fifth round since 2008.

Chinese local media reported that the female turtle was in good medical condition. The fertility procedure reportedly went well but she unexpectedly died the next day.

She was transferred to Suzhou zoo from Changsa Ecological Zoo 11 years ago to pair her with the male Yangtze giant softshell.

Chinese and foreign experts are currently investigating the cause of death.—Aileen Cerrudo

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