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Beijing endorses Manila's move to resume contact

(China Daily)

08:53, May 11, 2012

Beijing has endorsed Manila's decision to resume diplomatic contact with the Chinese embassy in Manila, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

The monthlong island impasse, which began on April 10 when a Philippine warship entered China's territorial waters at Huangyan Island and harassed Chinese fishermen, has seen a series of provocations from Manila that have worsened the situation.

In late April, Manila suspended diplomatic contact with Beijing. "Beijing continued to urge the resumption of dialogue following the suspension," Tong Xiaoling, Chinese ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said on Thursday.

The ambassador also confirmed that the Philippine government has now resumed diplomatic dialogue with the Chinese embassy.

"We will closely follow the development of the situation and further moves by the Philippines," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily news conference on Thursday.

China called on the Philippines to respect its sovereignty over Huangyan Island and "to not take further action that would aggravate and complicate the situation", according to Hong.

Yang Baoyun, a professor of Southeast Asian studies at Peking University, told China Daily that it is improbable that the Philippines would give up its territorial claim to the island overnight.

"The credibility of Manila remains to be proved, but the resumption of diplomatic contact will help ease the island tension," said Yang.

Despite Manila's offer to prepare a new proposal for a diplomatic solution, the impending massive Philippine protests against China on Friday will cast a shadow on ties between the two countries and add to the tension, analysts said.

The Philippines recently urged its citizens at home and abroad to hold protests and demonstrations against China, and a massive protest is planned in front of the Chinese embassy's consular office on Friday.

A Philippine civic organization also announced plans to hold a series of protests on Friday in front of Chinese embassies and consulates in some major cities worldwide.

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