Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has cautioned the Philippines to engage in dialogue to resolve what China perceives as “serious difficulties” in their relationship, particularly concerning incidents in the South China Sea where tensions between vessels from both nations have escalated. Recent months have seen sharp exchanges between Beijing and Manila, involving fishing boats, coastguard ships, and other vessels in the strategically significant South China Sea, where overlapping territorial claims exist.

In a phone call with his Philippine counterpart, Enrique Manalo, Wang emphasized that if the Philippines miscalculates or collaborates with “ill-intentioned” external forces in the disputed waters, China will firmly defend its rights and respond resolutely. The statement from China’s foreign ministry highlighted Wang’s assertion that China-Philippines relations are at a critical juncture, and the immediate focus should be on managing and controlling the current maritime situation.

Enrique Manalo, in response, described having a frank and candid exchange with Wang, noting the importance of dialogue in addressing the issues at hand. The initiator of the phone call was not immediately clear.

China lays claim to a significant portion of the South China Sea through the controversial Nine-Dash Line, a claim contested by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Despite an international tribunal invalidating China’s claim to 90% of the South China Sea in 2016, Beijing continues to reject the ruling and has undertaken activities such as building artificial islands and installing airstrips in the disputed region.

Quest :Emmanuel kelvin

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