Differences in South China Sea Are Not Sum Total of Philippines-China Relations

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MANILA (Reuters), Saturday - The Philippines foreign minister said that the differences between his country and China over the South China Sea do not sum up the relations between the countries.

Enrique Manalo, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs, said that "these differences should not stop us from finding ways to manage them effectively", especially in respect of the enjoyment of rights by Filipinos, particularly fishermen, at the beginning of bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang, held in Manila.

The Philippines has raised diplomatic protests against the presence of Chinese vessels in the strategic waterway and what they call China's aggressive actions.

Qin stated on Saturday that China is willing to work with the Philippines in order to reach a consensus and resolve their differences.

China claims sovereignty in almost all of the South China Sea. This area is believed to have mineral and oil deposits and sees about $3 trillion worth a year of shipping.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a landmark ruling invalidating China's claims. Vietnam, Malaysia Brunei Indonesia and the Philippines all have competing claims on the waterway.