MANILA, Philippines - Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Thursday said the Philippines is bent on improving relations with China despite an ongoing territorial dispute over areas in the South China Sea.
"China is a friend, is a neighbor. We welcome the emergence of a prosperous China. We're also looking for a responsible China, positive relations with them. We are trying our best to normalize the situation," he said.
However, he also noted that the Philippines has certain "non-negotiables" when it comes to the negotiations with Beijing.
"I think it's been stated clearly by our President - what is ours is ours. We have made it very clear to China that it is not a matter of choice but a constitutional mandate. The President has sworn to do this, to protect what's ours. So protecting our territorial integrity is non-negotiable," he said.
ANC Headstart, November 29, 2012