President Rodrigo Duterte and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in did not discuss the South China Sea dispute in their bilateral meeting on Monday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.
“Wala. Hindi nabanggit ‘yun,” Lorenzana told reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Commemorative Summit in Busan, South Korea.
The Philippines and China have competing claims over some features in the resource-rich South China Sea.
The United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in July 2016 invalidated Beijing’s historic claims to the South China Sea and spelled out the Philippines’ sovereign rights to access offshore oil and gas fields within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. China, however, refused to recognize the ruling.
South Korea and China, meanwhile, are claiming ownership over the Socotra Rock, a submerged reef in the Yellow Sea which is believed to contain oil and mineral deposits.
During their bilateral meeting, Duterte and Moon vowed to elevate the level of their countries’ relations to strategic partnership by 2020, allowing the two nations to engage in greater cooperation to achieve common prosperity.
The two leaders also witnessed the signing of agreements covering education, social security, fisheries, tourism and trade. — BM, GMA News