There are a number of territorial disputes in the South China Sea between Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam, since the region is believed to have vast energy resources.
MANILA (Sputnik) – Rodrigo Duterte that Manila and Beijing should be friends, adding that there are “hot heads who would like us to confront” China.
“The South China Sea is better left untouched. Nobody can afford to go to war, neither the big powers such as Russia, China, Britain, nor the United States. [They] cannot afford a violent confrontation. [They do not] have the luxury of the option of war and violence,” Duterte said.
READ MORE: Getting Oriented: Why the US is So Interested in the South China Sea
The Philippine president added that he had reached consensus for cooperation with Chinese leader Xi Jinping over the issues related to the South China Sea.
“[Xi] said if you are as president… want to preserve the lives of the Philippines, then as president of China, I want to save lives [as well]. I do not [want to] waste the lives of my countrymen for a useless war that cannot be won by anyone. It’s very clear to us, the only way to go on is cooperation. We should open our doors to everybody,” Duterte pointed out.
The relations between the Philippines and China have been tense over the South China Sea. In 2013, Manila filed a lawsuit against China that claims 90 percent of the sea’s territories. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in July 2016 on the suit of the Philippines ruled that China has no grounds for territorial claims in the South China Sea. The court decided that the disputed territories of the Spratly (Nansha) archipelago are not islands and do not form an exclusive economic zone. China did not recognize the arbitration decision.
The ASEAN summit and related meetings are held on November 10-14 in Angeles City and Manila in the Philippines.