The Philippines will not pursue bilateral talks with China until an international tribunal decides on a case brought by the Philippines in connection with claims in the South China Sea (Vietnam’s East Sea), incoming foreign minister Perfecto Yasay said on Friday.
The Philippines has brought a case at an international tribunal in The Hague contesting China’s claims, a case rejected by China which wants to solve the issue bilaterally.
“We should not pursue any bilateral talks at this time until we hear, or wait for, the outcome of the decision of the arbitral tribunal to come out,” Yasay said in an interview with ABS-CBN news channel.
Yasay’s remarks follows advice from a former Philippine foreign minister and a U.S. security expert for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte not to hold unconditional bilateral talks with China to try to resolve the dispute.
China said on Wednesday the Philippines had ignored a proposal for a regular talks mechanism over maritime issues, as it repeated that its door was always open to bilateral talks with Manila.
China claims most of the waters, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims.