MANILA, Philippines – China remains convinced that a bilateral negotiation, and not international arbitration, is the best way to settle its territorial dispute with a “good neighbor” and long-standing “friend” like the Philippines.
“A resort to arbitration does not meet people’s expectations for friendship in both China and the Philippines,” said Zhang Hua, spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in Manila, in a statement sent to the media on Thursday, April 2.
In the lengthy statement, Zhang explained why China rejected the pleading filed by the Philippines with an arbitral tribunal against the country’s claim on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“For the Chinese people, to avoid lawsuit is part of the Chinese culture and tradition. And the Philippine people also value friendship and good faith. We see every reason for both sides to sit down and resolve problems through negotiations instead of taking the issue to court,” he said.