Press Release
March 19, 2009

Chiz, China envoy meet;
talks focus on Spratlys

Senator Chiz Escudero said Thursday that China's new envoy to Manila, Liu Jianchao, assured him of Beijing's stand that dialogue is the key to resolving the dispute among claimants to the Spratlys island chain in the South China Sea.

"We talked about various issues including the Baselines Law and I explained the position of the Philippines as well as the Philippine Senate on the issue," he said in a statement.

"We agreed that any issue or conflict must be resolved through peaceful and diplomatic avenues as stipulated in the ASEAN Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," Escudero said.

Signed in 2002, the declaration was issued in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in order to promote a peaceful, friendly and harmonious environment in the South China Seas between Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China. Other ASEAN countries claiming the Spratlys are Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Escudero also said he has accepted the Chinese envoy's invitation to visit China during the Senate's summer recess. The senator has previously visited Australia, the US, and Taiwan.

During the three-hour meeting on Wednesday night, the senator said the Chinese envoy agreed that the Philippines and China should continue to strengthen ties and look for more areas of cooperation in the social, political, and economic fields.

"We both expressed confidence that relations between the two countries will be strengthened and improved because of the friendship between our countries and peoples," the senator added.

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