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Beijing, Manila can find solution to dispute

By Cui Haipei (China Daily)

08:20, May 21, 2012

As Manila softened its attitude over the Huangyan Island incident while displaying gamesmanship under the table, analysts called for a more substantial demonstration of goodwill from the Southeast Asian nation.

According to China Review, Noel Servigon, Philippine consul general in Hong Kong, expressed optimism that war would not break out in the South China Sea, saying that Beijing and Manila could settle the dispute in an amicable way.

Considering there is no ambassador in Beijing, and Servigon is a senior Philippine diplomat in China, his remarks could be seen as the prominent voice of Manila, said Ren Yuanzhe, a researcher at China Foreign Affairs University.

It could be seen as another way to express Manila's softened attitude, Ren said, mentioning that Philippine President Benigno Aquino and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario have recently voiced similar opinions on different occasions, after heightened tensions caused tremendous losses for the Philippine tourism industry and fruit exports.

"Of course, China has suffered a loss, too, but it is totally sustainable. China has enough time and energy to push and see more substantial actions from Manila," Ren added.

The Philippines might take up the issue while it hosts three days of meetings of senior officials from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United States, which began on Sunday.

However, Del Rosario said the dialogue "is a regular meeting aimed at enhancing the relations of both sides and charting the course of ASEAN-US partnership", the Philippine Daily Inquirer, based in Manila, reported.

Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin revealed on Friday that Manila would obtain 10 new patrol ships from Japan, saying it would increase Philippine maritime security forces. But the Japanese embassy in Manila said on the same day that the Japanese government had not made a formal decision.

"This is not a good sign and will certainly cast a shadow over the issue, so there is still a long way to go before a final solution is found," Ren said.

Media reported that Aquino had named veteran banker Cesar Zalamea and Philippine-Chinese business leader Domingo Lee as "special envoys" to China. Servigon said it was a positive step toward resolving the dispute on the South China Sea.

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Sam Teng at 2012-05-21175.139.82.*
At last there seem to be some hope that good sense will prevail in the Huangyan Island issue. However, actions speak louder than words. The Philippines who started the provocation, has to be seen taking concrete actions to resolve the issue. Nothing can replace good sense, trust, peace and harmony for good neighborliness.

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