Sep 072016

VIENTIANE, Laos – China on Wednesday told member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) that the territorial dispute over the South China Sea “should not represent” their relations.

In a press briefing, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said all the 10 Asean countries raised the issue regarding the overlapping ownership claims over the resource-rich region during the Asean-China meeting at the National Convention Center.

While the matter has remained controversial, the atmosphere during the session was “friendly and warm,” Andanar said.

He said President Duterte himself spoke about the issue, but maintained that the territorial row “should inspire us to work together.”

Andanar said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also underscored the importance of China’s contribution to the regional bloc and the mutual trust among the nations.

“(Li) mentioned the need to pursue common interests (of China and Asean),” Andanar told reporters. JE


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