Dispute with China 'not sum total of relations' - Del Rosario
MANILA - The Philippines hopes to maintain a constructive relationship with China despite the territorial disputes between the two countries.
In a speech before the Management Association of the Philippines, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Philippines believes "our dispute in the West Philippine Sea is not the sum total of our relations."
"President Aquino is firm in upholding his agreement with Chinese President Hu Jintao not to let the maritime dispute affect the broader picture of friendship and cooperation between the two countries," he said.
Towards the end of his speech, del Rosario said: "While the Philippines acknowledges China's role in world affairs and support its peaceful rise, China must manifest its adherence to and respect for the rule of law, to be truly viewed as a positive force."
The Philippines has already initiated arbitral proceedings last January while China insists on settling the issue through its nine-dash line position which del Rosario calls "expansive, excessive and in gross violation of international law, specifically UNCLOS."
According to del Rosario, the decision of the arbitral tribunal will be legally binding on all parties and will not be appealable.