China expert expects better ties after 2016

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HAIKOU CITY, China—Maybe after 2016.

Wu Shicun, president of top state think tank National Institute for South China Sea Studies, is hopeful that relations between China and the Philippines will be better after the Aquino administration.

Wu also says China is unlikely to accept the decision—expected “around January to March in 2016”—of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Itlos) on the territorial dispute between Manila and Beijing, regardless of whether it is favorable or not.

“[Our countries] used to enjoy a good relationship—economically, politically,” Wu told reporters here during the Philippine Media Southwest China Cultural and Economic Familiarization Tour. “I’m optimistic about the future. Maybe after 2016, China will enjoy relations with the Philippines as before.”

“China has been enjoying the friendship of the Philippines at least before 2012, when the Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal) issue happened. We hope that the relationship between our two countries can return to normal,” Wu said.

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