Philippines, China Agree to Preserve Ties as They Repeat Claims

The Philippines and China agreed to prevent further worsening of their relations even as both reiterated claims on a disputed territory, the Southeast Asian nation’s Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said today.

“Irritants continue to be present,” Roxas told a televised briefing in Manila, adding Chinese ships remain in Scarborough Shoal, an area being claimed by both nations. Roxas met with Vice President Xi Jinping last week and he said the discussions ended with a mutual expression of sovereignty. Back-door talks with China helped ease tensions, President Benigno Aquino said on Sept. 21.

“I don’t expect much progress in the interim until that leadership change has been completed,” Roxas said, referring to China’s leadership transition.

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