China has demanded the Philippines drop its arbitration case with the United Nations on territorial disputes as a condition for allowing President Benigno Aquino to visit a Chinese trade fair, diplomatic sources say.
The demand prompted Aquino to cancel the trip to Nanning for the opening of the annual China-ASEAN Exposition on Tuesday.
“There were subsequent concerns and conditions to the president’s attendance and such conditions were absolutely inimical to our national interest,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Raul Hernandez said on Monday.
He declined to give details of the conditions, but diplomatic sources said Beijing demanded that Manila withdraw the arbitration case that challenges China’s claim to nearly the entire South China Sea.
The sources said China also demanded that the Philippines pull out a rusty navy ship from the Second Thomas Shoal, which Beijing claims as its territory even though it is located within Manila’s 200 nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
The Chinese embassy in Manila did not confirm or deny the allegations, and insisted that Beijing values its friendship with the Philippines.
“Under the current circumstances, China hopes the Philippine side could work together with the Chinese side to overcome difficulties and disturbances and make real efforts to get the China-Philippines relationship back to the track of sound and stable development,” embassy spokesman Zhang Hua said.
Manila and Beijing have been locked in a diplomatic rift since last year over maritime disputes.
Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.Source: The Australian – Philippine leader cancels China trip
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