The Philippines reaffirmed its strong bilateral relationship with the People’s Republic of China despite nagging maritime issues centering on the West Philippine Sea.
In a virtual conference Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. met with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss cooperative endeavors under the new normal.
Even with the dispute, the foreign ministers said mutual trust remains and joint development efforts will still push through.
They likewise agreed to further strengthen the strategic cooperation of the countries even during a pandemic.
Nonetheless, China aired its rejection of the Philippines’ arbitral rights over the West Philippine Sea as granted by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The envoy said the 2016 decision was ‘illegal’ and ‘invalid’ and that under no circumstances will China’s stance over it be affected.
The United States earlier said China has made a series of ‘completely unlawful’ acts over claims on resources already decided by higher governing agencies.
With this, the US bared their continued support for the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia.