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China warns Philippines to resolve South China Sea tensions via dialogue
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China warns Philippines to resolve South China Sea tensions via dialogue

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave warnings to the Philippines to take care through dialogue what China sees as “stern issues” in their rapports over the South China Sea, where incidents between vessels from the two sides have escalated. Beijing and Manila have traded sharp accusations in past months over run-ins involving fishing boats, coastguard ships and other vessels in the South China Sea, a strategic trade corridor where the two nations have overlapping claims.

Wang told his Philippine counterpart, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, in a phone call on Wednesday that if the Southeast Asian nation misjudges or colludes with “ill-intentioned” external forces in the disputed waters, China would be making the best attempts in order to protect its rights and revert resolutely, according to a statement by China’s foreign ministry. “China-Philippines rapports are at a crossroads,” the statement recognised Wang as saying. “The top priority is to properly handle and control the current maritime situation.” Manalo stated on Thursday he had an amiable and candid exchange with Wang.

“We both understood the requirement of dialogue in understanding these problems,” Manalo revealed, according to a foreign ministry statement. It was not immediately crystal clear who started the phone call. China lays claim to most of the waters within a so-called Nine Dash Line, which is also contested by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. An international tribunal invalidated China’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea in 2016 but Beijing does not understand the governing. China has been successful in creating man-made islands in the disputed area in past years and put air strips on many of them.